Money magazine had a good article this month about the perceptions of husbands and wives when it comes to money. The article picks up on some of the fundamental misunderstandings between spouses and money.
The article points out that most men still make the majority of the money for their households. It seems the spouse that brings home the bacon also invests it, so in most circumstances, the husband makes all of the investment decisions while the wife deals with the day-to-day expenses like buying groceries and keeping the children clothed. It suggests that women don’t discuss investments and retirement goals with their husbands because they lack the confidence to do so.
Unless your husband is a financial advisor, this makes no sense to me. Why would a woman assume her husband knows any more about these issues than she does? If she lacks confidence, she should search for investment information on the internet or even buy an “investing for dummies” book. I’m sure there is one out there.
When Money Magazine polled husbands regarding their wives’ concerns about saving for retirement, saving for emergencies, paying off debt, or having suitable investments, the men consistently underrated their wives. 27 – 45% of the men believed their wives cared about the issues, but when polled, 48 – 68% of the wives showed concern.
Even 68% seems like a low-ball number to me. Why aren’t 100% of women concerned about retirement and saving for emergencies? Do women still have the 1950s belief that their husbands will support them and take care of their needs until the day they die?
What amazes me most is that the majority of wives will outlive their husbands. Since women will live longer and need their money to stretch further, shouldn’t they be the ones handling the investments, researching the funds in their retirement accounts, and ensuring that they can live out their last years on earth without fear of running out of money?
In defense of these women, the article does not provide the percentage of men who care about these categories. Perhaps I am delusional in my belief that 100% of both sexes should care about their future well-being.
The focus of the article in Money magazine is a good one. It attempts to point out why spouses fight about money. But I think it fails to get to the root of the problem: husbands and wives need to sit down together to discuss their financial goals.
For any woman out there that is afraid to talk to her husband or has not thought of the importance of making significant monetary decisions, I suggest reading “The Family CFO.”
It is an easy read that will help you recognize the importance of setting goals and working towards them. After all, your husband could divorce you, or he could die. You will need to sustain your household without him, and by working towards goals together now, you can feel confident that you will have enough money to take care of your future needs.