We women really don’t have an excuse for not knowing where our money goes.
Women who say:
“Well but my father/mother/brother/partner/spouse is so awesome at doing that stuff, I never have to worry about it. When I need money, I just say: I need this amount of cash to do X, Y, and Z, and they say “Sure, here you go!” …
Or worse, the women are the breadwinners who make a ton of money and just turn all the financial reins over to someone else to manage for them for various reasons:
- to make their partner/spouse feel like the one in control because they aren’t the breadwinners
- to not have to deal with it because they’re lazy (yes, LAZY.. it only takes an hour a week, MAX for this stuff)
- …to just be financially ignorant and carefree about their income
…and frankly, it bothers the hell out of me that women don’t care about their money as much as men seem to.
Or they care, but feel like they aren’t entitled or privileged enough to know where THEIR money is going, being invested and what it’s being spent on other than the day to day income/expenses situation.
MEN VERSUS WOMEN: BUT WHO CARES IN THE END?
A colleague was telling me the other day about how in her daughter’s class, there was a stock market picking competition amongst the kids. The guys were really interested in portfolios, management and returns during that 6-week game period, but the girls could not have cared less.
Is it the parents not bothering to bring up these financial matters to their girls thinking that boys should be the ones to take care of it?
Or is it more primitive, with a hunter/gatherer mindset where guys feel the aggression and need to win, particularly at something to do with money, more so than the girls?
Who knows… and frankly at this stage in our lives, WHO CARES.
The point is that no matter what you have been taught, not taught, conditioned to believe or are used to, the time is NOW to start taking care of your money, or at last your half of the money, if not for this sole, very important reason:
What if your money manager is out of commission tomorrow? Would you know what bills to pay? To whom? In what amounts?
Would you be able to answer and know what the investing strategy for your retirement was?
Would you be able to answer questions on where your money is being held? In what amounts? What stocks are being bought?
Could you take over the financial reins of the household in a pinch (with a little help of course), and be able to CONFIDENTLY answer about the incoming and outgoing of your household cash flow?
If not, then you better get started.
Besides.. bad things happen at the worst of times to the best of people. You may say you will never get divorced but.. *shrug* who knows? I’ve heard some pretty sordid tales about fights between the husbands and wives and frankly, knowing the money situation well, gives the higher advantage to one over the other.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO MANAGE THE MONEY, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE IT GOES
Women, you do not need to know how to manage the money on a daily basis in the household, but you are totally 100% responsible in knowing WHERE IT GOES and WHY.
Ask questions. LEARN. Be involved with your money.
Don’t be an Ostrich, it never ends well when your head is in the sand and when you pull it out, you’re totally disoriented and lost.
It is your responsibility to know how to take over the financial reins, in case you ever need to.. or just because you want to be able to intelligently answer how and why things happen.
YOU MONEY MANAGERS ARE ALSO THE ONES TO BLAME FOR THIS IGNORANCE
Money managers, you are not off the hook in reading this post either.
You’re probably mostly male and the majority of you are also the breadwinners in the household, which gives you the feeling of control, power, security and satisfaction in being that person… (of course!).. but if your spouse is in the dark and has NO CLUE about how money is being handled and where it goes in your household, you have a serious problem.
You need to stop being a lazy, selfish knowledge-hoarder, and start instituting money talks either weekly or monthly.
You need to sit down as a family (even with your kids), and say: This is what we make. This is what we spend. This is where all the money goes for the mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, etc.
And if you have no idea where all the money goes either, I suggest you start budgeting and tracking your expenses to get an idea.
You really need to make sure that you’re both on the same page in terms of retirement, investing and general money matters.
You do not want to be the one who left your spouse in the dark about the financials, and to know in the aftermath how much they struggled in understanding the bills, where the money went and why.
Trust me, it is in your best interest to care about making sure your partner knows where things go.
A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE OF FAMILY MONEY TALKING
My brother sits my sister in law down every month for this money talk. Sure, she hates it. Sure, she wishes she could be out doing something else instead of being (in her words) “harangued about her spending” …. but she knows where the money goes.
She knows why they CAN’T buy a new car this year even though the cash balance in their savings account is $75,000 (it’s their emergency fund).
She knows why even though she would like to go on a fancy vacation each year and put the kids in private school, that they can’t do that any more because they have to start thinking about paying for their college education in a priority over their elementary schooling.
All this is good. It’s all GOOD to have the financials out and transparent so that each side knows what is happening.
Otherwise, if that is not the case, you can certainly do a more hands-off approach like my partner and I do. We each pay 50% of the household bills jointly, but we manage our own accounts independently.
We like this approach because we’re both alpha-types and we both trust that the other knows how to handle their money; and if something went wrong, we’d be able to say: I’m sorry, I can’t afford that. We will have to find an alternative.
I am planning on doing this with Baby Bun as he gets older, and having him manage his own savings and investing it in index funds (helping him navigate that), and reading personal finance books.
I do not want him to be in the same position I was (clueless) when I got out of college, and why should this be any different for any other functioning, independent adult?
I dare you to tell me otherwise in the comments.