My husband and I have been married for almost three decades, and we’ve worked together for most of them. But we both know that even the most successful marriages end, in either death or divorce. That is why a man is not a plan, even in the best of marriages. If you are married, each of you needs the skills to eventually stand on your own. That’s doubly true for women, who tend to live longer, earn less, and save less for retirement.
Don’t wait until you are older to begin to discuss your finances. Failing to discuss financial issues throughout the marriage can jeopardize your security individually and as a couple. And don’t shirk from financial discussions because you are afraid you won’t agree. Disagreements are inevitable, but using the following tips you should be able to discuss your differences and settle them fairly.
Divide the money management tasks. Who is in charge of paying the monthly bills, who balances the checkbook, who files the paperwork? Is one of you in charge of your investment accounts, or do you make decisions as a couple? However you divvy up the financial duties, make sure you know what the other is doing.
Establish a budget. Without a budget you’ll end up spending beyond your means, which can make it nearly impossible to achieve your financial goals. Even if you and your spouse manage money separately, make a date once a month to review your respective checkbooks and bank statements, so you will both have a clear idea of how much you are spending as a family.
Hone your financial skills. If either of you lacks financial knowledge, make the effort to master the basics and boost your confidence about money issues. Review all your personal finances together. Knowing how to manage money wisely gives you a sense of control and security that is imperative to building a solid future as a couple.
Maintain credit in your name. Each of you should have a credit card in your name and make the payments on time. And you each should get a free credit report each year atwww.annualcreditreport.com.
Rank your financial priorities. Where your individual goals coincide, make a list of the steps it will take to accomplish these goals. Where they collide, figure out which you can live without and how to combine the rest with your partner’s plans.
A man is a partner, a help mate, someone to love and cherish, to share your life with.But the odds are real that one day you’ll be financially responsible for yourself again. That is why for many years at WIFE we have had a slogan: “A man is not a financial plan.” It’s the truth.