This isn’t meant to be a sexist rant. Rather, the following is a common refrain I’ve heard in my ~30 years as a financial professional.
Recently, a retired woman told me, with tears in her eyes, that when her husband died she was completely helpless to handle her own money. She told me, “Doug, tell women that they have to learn to handle their own financial affairs and not rely on their husbands.”
When a man monopolizes the family finances, it harms his wife.
Marriage is a partnership
When people get married, they are supposed to combine their lives. In almost all cases, a husband and wife should make fiscal decisions together. Don’t tell your spouse, “I’ll take care of all the money issues,” since you aren’t doing her a favor by relieving her of the responsibility. Apart from being patronizing, it sets up an unequal dynamic for one of the most emotionally packed aspects of your joint life. If you’re on the receiving end of this comment, tell your spouse, “Let’s work on it together.”
Statistically, men predecease their wives, and widows should not be left in positions where they have no experience handling their own funds. Although there are many complicated aspects of dealing with investments, both husband and wife should know how to balance the budget, understand their bank statement, and make basic investment choices. Both spouses should know how much they earn, spend, save, and give to charity.
Unequal financial relationships are normally a recipe for failure. If your marriage is financially unbalanced, the first step to rebalancing is to make a commitment to work together. Read this blog piece on married couples sharing money (Profile-Financial.com/married), and then call my office (02-624-2788) for an objective look at your situation.
Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd. www.profile-financial.com. He is a licensed financial professional both in the U.S. and Israel. Call (02) 624-2788 for a consultation on how to set up your American assets to meet your financial goals. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not those of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Neither PRG nor its affiliates give tax or legal advice.
Published November 23, 2015. Update December 2021