Here we go again…. Back in March I posted a commentary on an article called Men Women + Money. In that posting, I pointed out that women need to become equal partners in financial planning and investing, even if their husband provides the majority of household income.
Yesterday MSNBC published an article urging married women to become more involved in retirement planning. This article reiterates many of the issues in my original posting, including the fact that most women will eventually wind up managing their own finances. In fact, the article states that nearly 90 percent of women will end up managing their finances alone in the latter part of their lives.
Although I wasn’t a big fan of this article it did offer a few helpful suggestions for opening the lines of communication between spouses. It suggests talking with your husband about one financial issue at a time. For example, reviewing life insurance coverage or employee benefits. If you have never spoken in detail with your spouse about money it can be a little overwhelming to discuss all the household financial decisions at once. Breaking down topics into manageable conversations is a good idea.
The article also suggests sitting down and asking yourself simple questions that may impact your finances. “For instance, ‘Are we going to stay in this house for a while?’ [and] ‘If so, will we do more to pay off the loan?'” Once you begin to open the lines of communication, you will “eventually, need to sit down and review all their financial statements together. You both need to be up to speed about where your money is and how it’s working for you. You also need to determine your goals for retirement, your values and whether your money is going to get you what you want.” My husband and I sit down to discuss financial issues quite often. It helps us set goals for ourselves and helps to ensure that our goals remain aligned with one another. Talking openly about money has allowed us to set a course for our future, including what hobbies we wish to pursue, where we want to live, when we will remodel our home, when we will travel, and when we hope to retire.
Most importantly, the article points out that any conversation ultimately needs to determine how a couple wants to live. After all, if you choose to live outside of your means today you may be living a very meager tomorrow.