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I invested thousands behind my wife’s back. Now it’s spiraled out of control.

Pay Dirt is Slate’s money advice column. Have a question? Send it to Athena, Kristin, and Ilyce here(It’s anonymous!)

Dear Pay Dirt,

About eight years ago, my dad died. I’d been taking care of his finances for a few years before that and made some investments with his money that paid off. He told me to keep the profits. We shared a bank and it was easy to just transfer the money over from his account to mine. It wasn’t a “huge” amount, but it wasn’t nothing…around $150,000.

When he died, I settled all his accounts, which included forgiving loans to my brothers and sister rather than deducting from their share. All said, we evenly split roughly $2 million, so $500,000 each. I never mentioned the gift of $150,000 to any of them, but that isn’t my issue.

The issue was that I never mentioned that gift to my wife. I do all the banking, so she wouldn’t know anyway, but I moved it immediately into a crypto account. At the time, we were arguing a bunch and I didn’t really think she’d be cool with me gambling on fake money with this very real money. If you know anything about crypto, in spring 2017 was the first great runup and I turned the $150,000 into what is now about $4.5 million. I did most of the trading before the IRS required disclosure and have basically held my Ethereum and Bitcoin since 2018 or so. I want to cash out, pay the taxes, and retire, but I’m not sure how to do this without coming clean that I kept this windfall a secret until now. I’m pretty good with finances and investing in general (our other assets are in the plus by about $2,000,000) and in the end, she gets to share in our wildly good fortune and retire at 48 (if she wants). But I am just not sure how to bring it up.

—I Really Didn’t Think This Through

Dear Didn’t Think This Through,

Here’s how I’d start the conversation with your wife: “I have good news, and I have bad news.” You have no choice but to come clean and tell her you went behind her back during a rough patch and made some questionable investments. But the good news—and it sounds like really good news—can help soften this blow.

Even though you made a lucrative financial decision, you still went behind her back to do it. It would be one thing if you both kept separate finances or you knew she wouldn’t care what you did with your money. But this clearly isn’t the case if you feel the need to come clean. So tell her that. It might help her to know that you understand where you went wrong, what you’ve learned from it, and what you’ll do differently next time. It will only make your relationship stronger to communicate this to her. You’ll also want to hear her side of things—ask how she feels about it and give her the space to express herself. Have this conversation with your wife, and there’s a good chance that by the end of it, she’ll feel rich in more ways than one.

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Dear Pay Dirt,

I’ve (25 F) been the nanny for a family for six years. The kids are 13 M and 17 F, and at this point, I am more like family to them than just a nanny. I love the kids like they are my own. Unfortunately, their dad just died very unexpectedly and it’s a really hard time. I have gone over every day since this happened a week ago, and I don’t expect to be paid for this time because I’m there to show them my support. The part that is hard for me now is that their dad is the one who handled all their financial things, he always paid me, and he didn’t get a chance to settle up before his passing. I don’t want to make it about myself but I’m young and broke and depend on their family for about half of my income. How do I bring it up to their mom that they owe me about $1,000? And I wish I could spend time with the kids for free as their lives go back to “normal,” but I really can’t afford that. How do I start charging their mom again for my time?

—Heartbroken and Broke Nanny

Dear Heartbroken,

What a terrible and difficult situation. Your heart is in the right place, and I can only imagine that this family appreciates your role in their lives. It’s an undeniably difficult time for them and it will be awkward to bring up the topic of compensation, but it’s also possible that it won’t be as uncomfortable as you anticipate.

Because she’s grieving, the mom has bigger things weighing on her. And because she wasn’t involved in your pay at all, there’s a good chance she just doesn’t realize that there’s been a lapse in your payment. Ask if she has a moment to talk. Tell her you’ve avoided bringing this up because you didn’t want to…

Read More: I invested thousands behind my wife’s back. Now it’s spiraled out of control.

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