[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor
Are you involved in your household’s financial decisions?
While more than 75% of women now participate in the workforce and earn a paycheck to bring home to their families, a recent UBS Investor Watch survey from 2019 suggests that over one-half continue to defer major financial (long-term) and investment decisions to their spouse. I would like to encourage you to become actively involved in your household finances today, as one day you may become the lead decision maker. So how can you “get back in the game” when it comes to working alongside your partner in major, long term financial decisions?
- Picture the worst thing that could happen. I know this may be an unpleasant experience, but what if your spouse was suddenly gone, for whatever reason. What would you do? How would you do it? If you can truly put yourself through this mental exercise, the process may open your eyes to the real pitfalls of not having a good grasp on your family’s financial details. I have been in the financial services industry for over 25 years and I have coached women on their way out of some pretty messy situations they found themselves in due to not being financially aware of their family finances.
- 2. Take it slow. Don’t worry about learning everything all at once. Eat the information one bite at a time. Start by just learning what accounts you have (both assets and debts) and the balances. While it is common for a woman to be the “bill payer” in the household, it doesn’t always mean she has a full understanding of the whole financial picture. Work with your spouse to understand the budget as a whole. Working your way in to understanding more complex financial issues such as life insurance, retirement accounts, long term care planning and estate planning matters.
- Find balance. It’s ok that you and your spouse may not have the exact same equal mix of responsibilities when it comes to money and decisions. But your share of the mix shouldn’t be zero! Work with your spouse to find the right level of communication, record keeping and responsibility so that you are at least engaged and knowledgeable about the full picture.
- Get help. Sometimes the balance isn’t easy to find, especially if you are now disrupting the status quo. Couples often struggle to have these financial conversations on their own. In these instances, I am always willing and happy to help guide couples through the necessary topics that will lead to better financial involvement and harmony.
Although rare, there are those spouses that are not willing to share the financials of their marriage. Frankly, this lack of transparency is dangerous and unacceptable. If your spouse is unwilling to provide you with a true account of your family financials and refuses to give you a voice when it comes to your finances, I would suggest reaching out to a qualified professional for help. Although marital finances can be a challenging topic, it is important that both spouses stay involved and communicate with each other. I am always available to sit down with couples and help design a plan that works for both partners. I strive to design a plan that leads to financial success and a mutual respect and understanding.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]