Wives: Don’t Take The Backseat In Your Family’s Finances

Wives: Don’t Take The Backseat In Your Family’s Finances
November 3, 2011 Leslie Juvin-Acker

Today, women have the same earning potential as men and in many professions, and in others, even more. For some odd reason, women still allow themselves to take the backseat in their family’s finances and that not only puts an incredible amount of unnecessary pressure on men as providers and family heads, but puts women in a dangerous place in the event that things go sour in the market place or in the relationship.

Whether or not you’re the primary or equivalent bread winner we women owe it to ourselves, our husbands, and our families to take an active role in the financial planning area of the household. Regain your share of the responsibility and control. Here’s how:

Get Rid of The “Have It All” Mentality
There is an epidemic I’ve seen in my fellow wives and it’s the “Have It All” Mentality. This HIA Mentality is what drives women to want to have it all: nice, designer clothes, the house, garden, and all the trimmings, the nice car, the vacations, the hobbies, the date nights, the best for their kids and so on.

While it’s great to desire a comfortable lifestyle, it’s another to be constantly in a state of mind of wanting to have it all. These women who are in this constant state not only feel depressed because they can’t afford everything they want, they make themselves and their husbands feel terrible for not providing “it all”. Get over it. This is life and it’s not perfect – not for me, not for you, and not even for the richest woman on the earth, and certainly not even for Oprah.

Maybe we do end up getting every material desire we’ve ever wanted, but I can assure you that it doesn’t happen over night and it takes time to build wealth and acquire things. Don’t get caught in having it all right now, but enjoying the journey of creating financial security together in time. I.E. BE PATIENT.

Establish Trust Between You And Your Spouse
Someone dear to me married someone who ended up spending them out of house and home. Whenever he tried to do something about it, she would throw a fit and say that he didn’t trust her (and for good reason). She was impulsive, spent more than they earned, and at the end of the month had nothing to show for all that was spent. Due to the financial strain and obviously lack of trust and teamwork, they divorced and she weaseled her way into transferring all of her debt to him and he spent years regaining his financial footing. Don’t let this happen to your relationship.

For the most part, men work very hard for their money to support their wives and children, just as women work hard for their husbands and children. If spouses are shown to be financially careless and impulsive, this portrays a lack of respect for the other’s work and for the goal of creating financial security. We wives owe it to our husbands by showing them that we are financially responsible and aimed towards creating a financial situation where everyone can get what they want (and vice versa for husbands). Trust is established through prudent action – be the example through your financial decisions and attentions.

Get To The Bottom Of Issues
If money is unaccounted for, do the research to find out where it went. If he’s or you are hiding money, discuss why he or yourself feels the need to hide it. Deal with the emotional issues that keep you in the backseat and focus on developing a stronger bond through the process, rather than seeing who is wrong and who is right.

If you can’t have a cool, adult discussion about money then work with a third party who will show facts and figures, taking out the eventuality of useless arguments. An accountant or financial advisor usually tells it how it is and asks poignant, straightforward questions as to what to do next. I’ve personally found this service to be very helpful in getting down to the bottom of things quickly and amicably.

Create A Family Financial Plan Together
Every couple at every age has a different plan. For young people, it can be just getting and staying out of debt. For older couples, it could be saving and buying a house, building a nest egg for retirement, or paying for college education. For elderly couples, it could be allocating funds for health care and inheritance. Whatever your family’s stage and priorities, work on creating a plan together that includes short and long term goals and objectives and STICK TO IT!

Get out all of the financial documents: taxes, mortgage information, savings and checking statements, receipts, investment reports and statements, various insurance policies – everything. Analyze it all together and determine what you need to accomplish on the short and long term and create strategies together. As financial situations are constantly influx, it’s vital to revisit these strategies at least every six months to see where things need to be trimmed, adjusted, or added.

Get Educated
If you don’t know what an amortization schedule is or what what tax rate you pay on your income or who gets his or her death benefits do your family a favor and get educated. Don’t rely on him to know everything and to manage everything for you. Pick up a book, call your accountant or financial advisor (hire one, if necessary), ask a financially savvy friend or family member, or look it up on the internet. Taking a proactive approach to learning about finances will not only impress your spouse, but establish trust, and peace of mind. If he knows you can handle the finances in the event of his death or inability to work, he feels better on the long run.

Do What It Takes
If we don’t have as much as we need or desire, then it’s time to pull up our sleeves and do what it takes. I’m pretty sure most husbands out there want to give their wives everything they need and then some, but a vast majority unfortunately cannot due to a variety of circumstances. As wives, it’s our job to pitch in and make decisions, take actions, and deal with tough situations in order to create financial stability and security.

If it means putting off having kids because you can’t afford them. Then, wait. If it means walking and taking the bus if you can’t afford a car, then get your walking shoes on. If it means getting a job to pay off debt, then start looking. If it means that your husband’s income will not be able to afford retirement and annual vacations, create a plan so you can see that exotic locale together. Do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Do you have advice to help women regain joint financial control in their marriages? Share your tips here.

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