In Money, Wealth, Women

Nothing bothers me more than a financially ignorant woman

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.

WHY?

WHY!?!?!?

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.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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12 Comments

  1. Sanna

    First half of my marriage I refused to have a joint acct. I noticed my husband never saved his money. He did not believe in saving money because finland has a great social system. Me coming from the States know the importance of saving for rainy days. While true that finland has a great system where university was free, housing free, foods free, childcare free, healthcare free.. so why not just spend and live it up. Lol we moved to the states and now he realized the importance of savings. We now have a joint account and never fought about money. He’s become an extreme saver now and saves about 60-70% of our in-com and invest. By the way, I made literally 25k a year in finland and he made 6 figure but I ended up with money in savings acct. lol

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s FANTASTIC. I love this mindset… and you recognized early on, which is a key sign. I can understand growing up in a country where everything is provided for you, but for sure, once you live in North America, savings is the only way out.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Learning about money (saving, investing, giving it away) is boring. But I feel really confident about myself and my future when I know I’m in control of my money and what is happening to it. All my financial accounts are in my name.

    There have been too many stories of husbands, wives, parents, adult children, relatives, financial managers that managed a person’s money and then that person ended up broke. Plus when I was growing up I liked to earn money because it taught me that I wasn’t weak.

    When parents and guardians don’t teach kids how to handle money and be independent they are teaching their kids that they are too weak to learn about money, how to handle it, and crippling their kids for the financial realities of the real world once they move out.

    Sometimes parents continue to help beyond college years and that cripples adult children, so what will happen to the adult children when the parents die? I get that parents want to make things easier especially when some parents have impoverished backgrounds and don’t want their children to go through the hard times but over helping children can make them weak.

    I’ve seen that with a couple of my parents friends children and it’s ugly. Those adult children are moochers. It’s an ugly thing to see a 50 year old mooching off 70 year old parents.

    I got this from Dave Ramsey and I’m going to copy him. If I have children we (future husband and I) are going to start them off very young like 3-4 years old and teach them to put away their toys OK so for them that might be like 3-5 toys at that age and they get a quarter.

    As they get older like around 7/8/9/10 I want to teach them to do chores and give them a piggy bank labeled save, invest, and give. People say you should not pay kids to do chores but I want them to learn at an early age to be money managers.

    Then as they get older like 11/12/13/14/15+….I want to start talking about bigger financial concepts like you wrote, how much we make, how people go into debt, how to balance an online account, the stock market simplified, how much it costs to run the family, etc.

    I want to even get them to start a small business or work at a part-time job, whatever they want, something they can maintain that allows them to earn money to save up for a used first car, or other things they might want like expensive toys like video games or a laptop.

    And maybe with a small teen business or part-time job we can phase out the allowance for doing chores as long as they keep their grades up! Awhile ago I was reading about how rich people send their kids away to finance summer camps and I thought that was really smart.

    http://www.latimes.com/la-op-frank29jul29-story.html#page=1

    Each generation should strive to help the next one be better than the current one.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Agreed with what you’ve said. I really want Baby Bun to learn good financial habits early on.

      Reply
  3. Sheri

    Thank you for this post, I agree that women need to be aware of where money is going in a household. My sister is a financial planner and has been helping me understand my finances. I am a 48 year old, SAHM, I work part time from home, just enough to pay for groceries, utilities, t.v. and I have a RRSP and TFSA. My other half, will not talk money with me, he is definitely the breadwinner and occasionally will let me know when he is buying something big. He is dead set on the fact that when he retires the Cdn government will take care of him and he doesn’t have to worry. So he has a very small amount going into any retirement savings. I worry for my future, I have started to take my retirement and money into my own hands, as we have extremely different views on it. With my very small salary, I am just now starting to budget all the areas I pay for and put as much as I can into my retirement. How do you handle when couples have such varying views on money? It is a constant worry for me, but now feel like I am getting a handle on it. Too little too late? I hope not!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      That is such a great question Sheri; I’d love to do it justice in a proper post. Wait for it to come!

      As for my short answer: You are never too late! 48 is still young enough to make a difference. Keep chugging along.

      Reply
  4. Odile uwitije

    Hey my name is odile and I’m 28 years years I’m looking to fix my credit it’s so bad that I can’t even get a credit card approval or find an apartiment. Could you please help I don’t know where I can start to make it better and I’m hoping one day to be able to buy a house one day. I would a apriciate any advice please and thanks

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Hi Odile.. The first thing you need to do is make sure you stop spending more than what you earn. The second, is to try and consolidate all your credit card debt onto ONE card with a lower interest rate than the other ones. E.g. if you have a card with 30% interest, find a card with 15% and do a balance transfer. Many banks also have cards that offer 0% interest for 6 months when you do balance transfers although you can’t get a card so that might be a problem.

      Start living off on cash, stop using your cards, clear your debt and prove to creditors that you are trustworthy again. It will take a while for you to build your credit back up, but if you at least pay the minimum balances and actively work to clear your debt, it will help. Don’t ignore them!

      Email me if you want more help.

      Reply
  5. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    There’s definitely a gender bias when it comes to making money. It’s unfortunately still novel when a woman in seriously invested, as it were, in building wealth.

    Unfortunately, the stock market terrifies me. I think I paid just a little too close of attention during the Great Depression section in history class. So I’ll definitely leave that to professionals, but I still will want to know about our various options — stocks, bonds, annuities, etc — and the pros and cons.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      The stock market terrifies lots of people but just putting money in index funds is what I do. I only dabble VERY LITTLE of my total net worth in actual stocks.

      Reply
  6. Stephen

    I’ve noticed this trend as well. I don’t fully understand why it seems like males are so much more likely to pursue money. Maybe it’s a power thing? Just how we were raised?

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Power thing. Biological need to fight for resources by competing with other males. I hate to put it all towards “this is biological hunter gatherer stuff”… but it’s also partly how parents perceive children. Would you be as likely to teach a girl personal finance, science and math, versus a boy? I wonder what the results would be.

      I think changing the way we look at children would also help. Not to say taking away Barbies and pink from girls will help, but introducing more technical aspects early on, like science stories and cool videos about the world and math when they’re young and impressionable would go a long way rather than waiting until they’re in college and in debt.

      Reply

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