Married Women's Guide to Getting Involved in Family Finances/ October 9th, 2018
According to recent studies, more than half of married women leave all financial decisions to their husbands. This could be risky for a number of reasons. Three key reasons are:
- Women tend to outlive their husbands on average by five years.
- Women are earning more income than they have in the past, sometimes more than their husbands.
- About 36% of marriages end in divorce.
Chances are women will find themselves solely responsible for their family finances at some point in their life. If you’re a woman who wants to start getting more involved in your finances, here are a few steps to help you get up to speed and stay in involved.
Step 1: Have a family budget meeting
Sit down with your husband and talk about spending habits and savings. Go over your combined incomes and total expenses, including the amount spent on groceries, mortgage, insurances, entertainment, kids, etc. Review all your debts together, including credit cards, medical bills, and student loans. This will help you understand where you currently stand financially as a family. If your husband has a written budget in place, make sure you know what it is and agree with it. If there isn’t a budget in place, this is an excellent opportunity to create one together.
Step 2: Review your retirement accounts
This is your financial future, too; it’s important that you know how much you both are contributing to your retirement accounts and what the current balances are. You should know where your accounts are held and how to access them. Have your spouse show you where important financial documents are kept. If they are on a computer, make sure you can access them without your husband’s help. You should visit your financial planning advisor together, so they can go over and explain your current accounts. It’s also a great time to review the beneficiaries on your accounts.
Step 3: Understand you insurance coverages
Know what is covered by all your insurance plans, including life, health, home, and auto. Make sure you know who to contact to file a claim and what your deductibles and co-pays are for each policy.
Tips for Staying Involved:
Once you understand your current finances, it’s important to continue staying involved. Start having monthly budget meetings with your husband or partner to review current spending and planned expenses for next month. The next time a big purchase decision arises, like a new vehicle or home improvements, make sure you know how it will be financed. Once you become involved in managing your family finances, you’ll feel more empowered and ready to handle any unexpected life events that come your family’s way.