During a recent conference, I started chatting with the woman next to me. We got on the topic of money and financial planning, and she mentioned that her husband handles their finances and investments and she feels like she is not in the loop. She is a perfectly capable woman having run her own business for many years. It’s unfortunate that a good number of women, even professionals, relinquish control of the family finances to their husbands. In fact, she said that if her husband passed away tomorrow, she wouldn’t know what to do with their money or even where all the accounts are located!
That was a huge eye opener for me. How many other women are in her shoes?
Turns out there are a lot. A recent study found that women are no more confident about money than they were ten years ago. And only 20 percent of women feel prepared to make financial decisions.
When it comes to your finances, you can’t afford to take a backseat. Here are five reasons why you should take control or least be an equal partner in the management of your money:
Life is uncertain.
Women typically live longer than men. That means at some point you’ll probably have to manage the finances on your own. Even if your spouse is still living, there are other situations that could force you to take the lead role in the family’s finances. For example, your husband could become ill or stop working due to a disability. If this happens, you need to be prepared to make decisions about your money. Having an intimate knowledge of your finances is essential, but having assistance from a Bucks County financial planner.
It’s good for your marriage.
Financial independence can keep a relationship healthy. Think of it this way: do you really want to ask your spouse for permission to buy that purse or to book that spa getaway? It’s your money too. I see a lot of couples operating in a parent/child relationship versus a partnership. You’re partners in life, so you need to be partners in money as well.
It’s in our DNA.
Women by nature are more organized (sorry, guys). Most of us have an innate capability to manage money – we just choose not to. I know many couples that leave money management up to the woman. It shouldn’t be a man vs. woman choice. The decision should rest with the person who’s most organized and can keep careful records of what goes in, what goes out and what’s invested for the future.
No one likes to think about divorce. After all, that’s not why you got married, right? Much as you hate to think about it, it’s still important to be prepared in case it happens. I’ve seen women get divorced without a clue about how to manage their money. Get up to speed now with divorce financial planning – it will save you a lot of time and money down the road. It’ll also help you lay the groundwork for the next chapter in life.
Divorced and not sure what financial moves to make next? Check out my post-divorce checklist.
Knowledge is power.
Even if you’re happily married, it’s still important to be educated about your finances. It’s wise to have your own bank account, checking, credit card and investment accounts. Why? It helps build credit and gives you more autonomy over your money. Not to mention it builds confidence. The more you know about your money, the more comfortable you’ll feel discussing it with your spouse. Plus, you won’t have to sneak around during the holidays or pray your spouse doesn’t look too closely at the credit card bill!
The bottom line.
Not sure you want the responsibility of managing your money? I get it. Women already juggle many responsibilities – family, career, home, the list goes on. We don’t have time to take on anything else.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to become financially savvy. In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever to keep up with your finances. Years ago you probably had a giant binder filled to the brim with statements and other financial information. Now, technology can do it all for you. All you need is a password and in a matter of seconds you’ve got access to your accounts, credit card statements, financial summaries, etc. If you’re not sure that you have access to this type of software, ask your Bucks County financial planner and financial advisor. He or she may already have something set up.
When it comes to your money, get in the driver’s seat. Start taking steps today to get in control of your finances. If you put it off tomorrow, it may never get done.
What made you take more control over your finances? Leave a comment below!
Need help managing your money? Contact a Bucks County financial planner for a free consultation!
Disclaimer: All articles/blog posts are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, retain a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, who is not an attorney.