When was the last time you had a conversation with your partner about money? For many of us, it has been awhile. It is something we have control over while we are single. Over time, with growing day-to-day duties of motherhood and career, research shows that the majority of women hand over money management to our spouses and partners.
In fact, according to UBS Wealth Management, 58 percent of women leave crucial financial choices up to their male partners.
This “crucial financial mistake…is making (women) poorer,” according to CNBC
Why? We all know that up to 50% of marriages can end in divorce. We also know that women earn less money than men, and we live longer than them. No matter our relationship status, 8 out of 10 women will be in retirement alone because of “death, divorce or by choice,” according to Tracy Byrnes, Investment Advisor at UBS, whom I spoke to at length in an interview about females finances.
She believes it is critical for women take a more active role in long-term money management. Currently 85% of women manage everyday expenses, but only 23% take the lead when it comes to long-term financial planning, according to UBS.
In asking questions, we regain insight into our financial picture, which, according to statistics, will be our responsibility – no matter our marital status. It doesn’t require you taking on the task of family investment manager or knowing where the Dow closes everyday, says Tracy.
How To Start Talking About Money
When it comes to your finances, consider it similar to a business matter at work. If you were the CEO of your own firm, you would delegate tasks and have a meeting to go over the status of each task once a week. We can apply this tactic to our financial lives, as well. Create a checklist of items you want to learn more about – the budget, retirement, stocks, college planning, cash reserves – and create a plan for understanding them. Then, start asking questions. Money conversations can trigger strong emotions for couples. Here are some tips to address the emotional components, as well.
Go On A Money Date
Tracy says the easiest (and most fun) way to gain more clarity into your finances is by going on a money date. Money dates can be with yourself, friends, family, parents or partner, she adds. They should be quick and simple – something discussed over a glass of wine and an appetizer, suggests Byrnes. Don’t ruin an entire meal talking about finances. The goal is to talk about one thing or one task item, then move on. Before the conversation ends and you move onto your entrees, be sure to schedule your next money date. Creating a regularly scheduled meeting time, like the end of every month or once a quarter, can help ensure the topic is routinely addressed.
Attend Your Next Meeting With Your Financial Planner
For added efficiency and ease, consider taking your questions directly to your family’s financial planner. A good financial planner has a full picture of your family’s finances and goals. In fact, Tracy insists upon both spouses attending meetings together with her. In this forum, you can feel freer to ask questions, taking the pressure off you and your spouse, and focus on the shared goal of building a secure financial future for you, your partner and your family.