Ask Paul: Where to hide relationship escape fund?


Dear Paul,

A female friend of mine has $20,000 in cash as a potential 'escape the relationship fund'. Is there a better way to invest this in such a way that her family can't discover it?

It must be risk free and investment earnings aren't important. I have suggested a non-interest-bearing secret bank account with no tax file number declared, but is there a better alternative? - Matthew

ask paul where to stash relationship escape fund

Oh, goodness, Matthew, this is not an easy question to answer. My gut feeling, though, is that this has little to do with investment.

What I don't understand is where the money is now. It may be in cash. I share your view that the return is irrelevant, but the money needs to be secure and out of sight. I wonder if a bank safety deposit box is an option for your friend?

I have zero expertise here, but I would suggest a call made in private to an organisation, such as White Ribbon Australia on 1800 737 732 would be a good idea. It, or an organisation like it, has deep experience in these cases.

Obviously, I am concerned about deeper issues, such as your friend's personal safety and her mental health, in what sounds like a very difficult situation.

My sense is there is a lot more going on here than what you have included in your email. I would really like her to seek professional support.

Need to talk to someone?
White Ribbon:
 1800 737 732
Good Shepherd: 1300 050 150

Family Relationships Advice Line: 1800 050 321

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.
Money magazine
October 25, 2023 5.07pm


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