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Should You Feel Obligated to Disclose Your Financial Status to Your Boyfriend?

To Tell or Not to Tell: Should Your Boyfriend Know About Your Money Status?

Money magazine's "Do the Right Thing" column this week featured this intriguing question from a female reader.

I’m divorced and have quite a bit of money. Several years ago I was involved with a guy who, once he learned of my wealth, used me as his personal ATM. Recently I started seeing someone new, and I think I could get serious about him. Given past experience, I’m thinking it might be better not to tell him about my money. Would that be ethical, or is there a point at which I have to speak up?

The couple who writes the column answered that she absolutely needs to disclose her wealth to her boyfriend if the relationship is getting serious. They suggest that in order to get an accurate assessment of the man she's dating, she needs to be sure that he isn't threatened by her wealth. While I understand that honesty is important in building trusting relationships, I'm not sure that it's necessary to disclose the status of your bank account to someone you're not sure will be in your life in a couple of years. How would you answer this hesitant, almost-in-love woman's question? To tell, or not to tell?


Join The Conversation
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
yeah just a boyfriend, none of his business. Get serious with him and talk about combining households and/or finances then is the time to discuss.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Is he the kind of guy who is old-fashioned and thinks it's his responsibility to provide for his wife and that she should be financially dependent on him? Why else would anyone care if their girlfriend had money? There are ways to determine if your boyfriend is a sexist loser without disclosing your bank account balance, so I say don't tell him. Maybe I'm too materialistic, but I can't imagine dumping someone because they had too much money--especially if they lived a normal life and I didn't know they were wealthy until we had a conversation about it.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
Until you guys get really serious - like start talking marriage, it's none of his business. If the topic comes up, you could say something like you're "comfortable" in your money situation ... or something else vague.
treble8705 treble8705 9 years
I would telll... at least it would get things out in the open and put all the cards on the table. His reaction should be a good gauge of how you guys are gonna be together about money
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
When he proposes- tell him ;)
emalove emalove 9 years
Depends on how serious the relationship is...if you're just casually dating and it's not at a serious level yet, there's no need for you to share this kind of information with him. But obviously, if you are planning on moving in together or getting engaged, I think he has the right to know...just as you do with his financial situation too.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I wouldn't tell him, yet. I think if you get serious as in marriage --you both should have the sit down with credit reports and then about money; and how you will combine your assets. I would also thinking about getting a prenup (men do it).
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I wouldn't tell him at all. It's her money and she can save it for her future and retirement. It's not like she's hiding anything from him it's just not really something people talk about. Eventually you can tell him but I'd get further into the relationship.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I'd keep it quiet! If things get serious, then you can chat. When you're still somewhat casual, then there are other things to talk about, right? Or maybe I'm bitter because I spent my mid-20s spending some of my meager salary on meals and trips for broke boyfriends in bands. I don't regret it, but I learned from it.
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
Yeah, I am the opposite of "well off" and I would never dream of telling a boyfriend that unless it was serious or I was for sure he was in it for the long haul. I would never want anyone to assume that I am with them for their money or look at them as a bank account. I don't roll that way.
PammyLZ PammyLZ 9 years
I had a really hard financial time a couple years ago, resulting in bankruptcy for me. I have a hard time even thinking about telling a boyfriend that I have a bankruptcy. I think she shouldn't tell. Because a person may make a judgement on a person they don't know well enough yet. I would rather the guy get to know me and like me enough so that any financial matter won't matter as much as it would have if told in the beginning of a relationship.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Do NOT tell!!! Why should she, it's not his business and they are not getting married!
miss-a279996 miss-a279996 9 years
If she wants to be able to build a serious relationship that contains trust then she should just be able to go ahead and tell him.. im sure they can work it out together.
linb linb 9 years
um, I mean *boyfriend* (singular, not plural)
linb linb 9 years
If it were me, I would not volunteer the information unless asked about it, and only if the relationship was serious. But, as my boyfriends always says, I still have the first dollar that I ever made, and I would never allow anyone to use me as an ATM. If a guy cannot afford his lifestyle and needs to borrow money, he is not the type of person that I will want to be with. So even if someone knew about my wealth, I don't think it would be a factor.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I wouldn't tell. I think she needs to get a better judge of character out of him before anything else. And besides, did she know how much he has? Maybe he is loaded too.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
Definitely not.It's nobody's business. Some people tend to show up at your door with their hands out, ready to use the crap out of you if they know how much money you really have.......
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
"But if she's worried about whether or not he can handle the fact that she has money, why wait until they're engaged to figure that out?" I can agree with this sentiment (it makes clear sense), but I wonder what the litmus test is for this kind of thing? What qualifies as a passing reaction? I imagine very few people would discontinue a relationship with her just because she's financially solvent (and thensome) -- so how does she discern between the bad apples and the good ones? I dunno.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
Their relative wealth is not relevant to their relationship (at this point). The particulars are no one's business -- not their partners, not yet. (Unless they each hanker for full financial disclosure -- but why would they?) I would expect a serious partner to share this kind of info upon engagement, co-habitation, or the like.
Aleemk Aleemk 9 years
I wouldn't tell. If you switched places with the guy, would you feel that you had a right to know that the guy is wealthy? I agree with RosaDilia that it is none of his business unless you get married or had common investments.
ladypenguin ladypenguin 9 years
If she's thinking about getting serious with him, then she should discuss it. Not because he has any right to her wealth--he doesn't. But if she's worried about whether or not he can handle the fact that she has money, why wait until they're engaged to figure that out? I also don't think it's a matter of saying, "Hey BTW, I have X dollars lying around." More like letting him know her level of financial security.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i think he should know, after they're serious and have a level of trust established. at that point, i think he needs to know; if you're in a serious, committed relationship, you need to be honest with each other, and keeping this kind of huge information from your partner could cause trust issues down the road.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I wouldn't tell a man how much money I have not even a bit. Whether I worked hard for it or inherited it, it's my money and he has no business to my wealth unless we are married or ventured into investments together.
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
Don't tell ... it's none of the guy's business.
princessjaslew princessjaslew 9 years
i think her finances are her own personal business. if there should come a point where they are going to combine their respective households, then yes because by then there should be an inherent trust between the two of them. even then, i think it would be wise for her to take steps to protect her assets from him.
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