Women Avoid Financial Responsibility, Pay the Price
For some of us, Prince (or Princess) Charming’s chief appeal is the bookkeeper included in the palace staff.
After all, why would you want to take care of your own money? It’s boring and number-y and *yawn.*
That’s the attitude of the women featured in The New York Times article “In Marriage, the Unseen Bottom Line.” The author polls her friends (highly educated, mid-30s, in relationships and most with jobs and children) and finds out most have largely pooled at least some money with their partners to cover joint expenses.
And then stepped back.
Largely, they prefer to keep some of their own money in a personal account and deposit only a portion into a joint account. “I know that a lot of my spending is frivolous, and I couldn’t defend it if you shoved a spreadsheet in my face,” says one friend quoted in the piece. Others agree, citing reasons such as a “buffer” to go over the agreed-upon budget as justification.
There is nothing wrong whatsoever with keeping some money in your own name. Your retirement accounts at the very least should be all yours, and having savings and assets will keep you from ending up in dire straits in case of divorce or a partner’s death. The problem here is that these women control their own money for buying shoes (seriously, that’s why one of the women keeps her money separate) but not their larger finances.
The author writes that only one woman she spoke to controlled the household finances, half don’t know the interest rate on their joint mortgages and nearly half don’t remember the password to their joint bank accounts–because they don’t want to.
Where to start? Caitlin Moran, author of “How to Be a Woman,” puts it nicely in the piece: “Money is possibilities and the ability to change and shape your life. If you don’t control your finances you don’t control your life.”
We couldn’t agree more. The reader confession from a woman who had always let her husband control the finances and found that she “didn’t exist” after her divorce springs to mind. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a hand in your household finances–to have assets in your name, to know where your bank accounts are, to have an emergency fund, to actively contribute to your retirement accounts.
Our CEO and founder Alexa von Tobel spoke to the necessity of financial knowledge in her recent TED Talk, and LearnVest supplies the tools you need to take control of your finances, from Financial Planners to Bootcamps to the My Money Center. Whether you’re avoiding your money like the plague or dutifully setting your budget and tracking your spending, there’s always room for improvement.
So go ahead.