Let me start with this hard question. If something happened to your spouse, would you have any idea where you and your kids stand financially?
I’ve recently come to discover that the answer for many married women is a resounding, “No.” Often followed by a humble, “I trust him.”
Many wives out there just don’t get involved in family finance. It’s kind of messy. The reasoning differs for each person from avoiding arguments, not enough time, or just not being a numbers person. Many women choose to check out of this important part of married life. I’ve done it myself.
This post is meant to encourage you to strengthen your marriage through financial unity. So ladies, it’s time to get all up in your family’s financial business. Here are three ways that financial ignorance can rob women of marital bliss.
1. You never really know where you’re at.
There is nothing wrong with totally trusting your husband. I totally trust mine. It’s not a sign of distrust to be a part of and fully aware of your family’s financial health. It’s wise.
Being in the dark about finances potentially leads to unbalanced spending habits. You might spend whatever you want, whenever, on whatever you want. On the other hand, you fear that you have no money so you are constantly afraid to spend on anything you may actually need.
Knowing where you are at can help you make wise decisions with the finances you do have control over. It might mean that you really don’t need to be spending as much as you do. It also might mean that you could actually spend a little more than you do now and free yourself from worry that your next purchase is going to bankrupt the family.
Some women never know where they are at financially because it’s how their husbands control them. That’s not healthy. If your husband regularly boxes you out and leaves you purposefully in the dark about your money situation, it might be time to seek a qualified marriage counselor.
I realize there are exceptions to these situations, like when a spouse has an addiction that could bankrupt the family. It’s wise to limit their access to family funds.
2. You don’t know where you are going.
Often when wives are unaware of family finances they may begin to worry and stress about the future. Do you worry about how much you’ll have for retirement, how much your kids will need for college or what would happen to you if you lost your husband? We all know that statistically women out-live men. Do you have a plan in place if that happens?
These are all tough topics and we don’t always like to talk about them, but you really should. Your future may be unpredictable but it isn’t un-plannable. Set up a date night and discuss together where your family wants to be financially in the next 5, 10,15 & 20 years.
Use these prompts to guide your discussion:
- What are your personal dreams and aspirations?
- What are your husband’s personal dreams and aspirations?
- How do those dreams fit into your financial future together?
Examples of dreams: One spouse staying at home, starting a business or traveling the world.
At the end of your dreaming conversation, ask your spouse to help you step into the reality of those dreams by seeing where you are at financially. Go through what you have, what you owe, life insurance and what’s saved for the future.
Don’t put off dreaming and planning TOGETHER. If you don’t both know the path and plan to your dreams, you’ll never be able to team up to achieve them. Don’t get to the end only to look back at your separate lives in regret. Instead get to the end looking back at what your teamwork accomplished with pride.
3. You feel powerless to help.
Many wives feel powerless when they live in financial ignorance. They don’t know how to help their stressed and burdened husband make financial headway in life.
You have something to give to your family’s financial situation whether you are a bread winner or stay at home spouse. Your knowledge brings you to a place where you can stop being just along for the ride and start being an active participant in positive change.
In my case, my husband and I got on the same page about financial planning in 2009. Because I knew how much money we made, what we owed and what we needed I was able to sells stuff, work extra jobs and cut back on the spending that I controlled to help our family pay off $93,000 in mortgage debt in 2 years.
That knowledge and tag team plan empowered me as a wife to pursue a goal with my husband which has brought us closer. We have not have a fight about money since the day we got on the same page about our goals. We sit down and budget together and I stopped being selfish about spending.
Knowing what’s happening in your financial life makes you a wife who’s empowered to make a difference in your family’s quality of life every single day.
Marriage is team sport. Your financial life should be too. Stop letting financial ignorance steal your marital bliss. Get in the game ladies. Do a budget together every payday. Decide on your goals. Talk about them regularly. Plan for your future. You are important to the health of your family finances!
Kim’s is the party planning, cupcake loving, celebration catalyst behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. Kim was a pro event planner for over 7 years before she became a full-time blogger. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day and more! Kim aims to inspire you to create parties, celebrations and gatherings that everyone loves!