Keeping financial secrets

DEAR HARRY: I have just become engaged to a really nice guy. He is as good to me as I could possibly have hoped. He has a good job with excellent prospects. Last weekend, we discussed a lot of things related to our marriage, including finances. He never asked about what I have. Here's the problem: My father died when he was very young, so my mother and I lived with my grandmother and we all were supported by the generosity of my mother's two brothers. Needless to say, we lived just above the poverty level. When I started to work, my mother "made do" so I could save as much as possible. I now have almost $20,000 saved in IRAs and CDs. Mother insists that I not tell my fiance, but keep this as my "just in case" reserve. I have mixed emotions about this, for obvious reasons. I really need your thoughts.

WHAT HARRY SAYS: You've really tossed me a hot potato. I have a close friend who faced an almost identical situation. She kept her savings a secret from her husband for six years after their marriage. She revealed this to him when they were contemplating the purchase of their first home. He understood completely, and he assured her that no apology was necessary. As far as I know, the subject was never discussed again. However, you are the best person to judge your intended's reaction when it comes to light.


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