25 Mar Financial Empowerment: Should Women Plan Finances Alone or Keep it Together?
Sooner or Later most Women will have to be Financially Responsible for Themselves.
Financial empowerment is about using money as a tool to enhance life. That includes her marriage; one goal of financial empowerment is not only to strengthen herself but also her marriage. No adjustment is necessary for women who have become financially empowered by claiming their financial power. If they’d done this, they’d already be in charge of their own financial destinies and would be playing a larger role in their marital finances.
Women live longer than men (statistically), so the chances are that even happily married women who leave finances completely or largely up to their husbands handling eventually will face a difficult adjustment. This can be alarming, especially when woman is older and there’s less margin for error as retirement approaches. But studies show that larger the amount and the more long-term the goal, the less the average married woman is involved.
Change of Attitude needed – Women tend to be less involved in critical issues such as long-term investing and assuring retirement income streams. Many remain involved in day-to-day matters such as managing the checkbook and paying bills or short-term budgeting only. This shift of change towards being involved in long term planning is needed.
How to travel the road towards financial empowerment and strengthen her marriage:
Communication over a mutual financial planning is critical. Effective financial planning begins with a close examination of one’s values. These values, reflecting one’s common goals and what one generally wants out of life are the drivers of how much money one will need and how one plan to acquire it. Strong marriages revolve around common values that are mutually articulated, understood and acted upon. Both spouses must operate within the framework of these shared values and goals and adapt their strategies to reflect changing situations for healthy marriage.
Independent financial planning or together – Being financially empowered doesn’t mean that she needs to separate her money from her spouse’s. Regardless of who generates most of the income, the main focus is that money is going towards agreed planned goals based on shared values. Any other approach fails to support a truly healthy marriage. When spouses don’t agree on financial issues, they often split the bills down the middle or allocate them in some set manner. This scenario reflects the problem that both partners want different things for their life together. This rises the stress and tension in inter personal relations and separation.
Debt (borrowing) can become an issue, particularly if one partner brings substantially more of it to a marriage. Inequality of debt or of income or spending can become a problem if the couple does not communicate their combined values towards matrimony. If one partner perceives himself or herself as vulnerable in the marriage, this can create inequality that may ultimately cause marital problems. Marriages where one partner feels more vulnerable or dependent either end up in divorce or, worse, in an unhappy relationship.
Many women are vulnerable throughout their marriages because they lack the knowledge to provide financial decisive calls in the couple’s best interest.
Tension over money is a major stress generator on marriages, and there can be more tension when one partner is vulnerable. A recent study examined the relationship between financial issues and divorce. It showed that arguments about money were longer and usually more intense than other types of marital disagreements. Another study showed that 22 percent of those who get divorced identify financial issues as a major cause.
*Getting Skilled Financial Knowledge is the necessity, today…
Financial Planning is not just a Man’s job anymore – To claim their financial power and make a contribution to family financial management, many women must first change their long-held beliefs and attitudes about gender roles. They must start by doubting the legitimacy of their existing views.
An unfortunate thing is that some women don’t have a clue about this. A finding at a women’s leadership group was astonishing where even among such a group, the concept of women taking on equal roles with their husbands in managing money was alien or unspoken. It is as though the emphasis on gender equality never happened.
Change is difficult but iminent – Even among those who know they need to make a change, change is difficult. But if one doesn’t change, everything will remain the same. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is to keep trying the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.
Plan for the worst when the going is the best – Regardless of how well her marriage is going, there are some things every woman should do now to protect herself in the event of divorce:
- Make a list of the assets you and your husband own together and separately.
- On this list, make distinctions between assets you brought into the marriage or acquired separately during the marriage and those you and your husband acquired together. Separate assets might include various pre-marital savings or investment accounts, and inheritances.
- If woman inherits money during her marriage, then it needs to be in a separate account in her name instead of mixing it with marital assets (accountants call this “comingling”). As inheritances are considered woman’s rights, they tend to not be regarded by courts as marital property subject to division.
If a woman gets divorced, she’ll be glad she took these steps. If woman stays married, doing then it helps towards better grip on your family financial situation, a step towards ultimate financial empowerment.
By improving grasp of financial matters, a woman can lessen her vulnerability, propagating greater trust; communication and increasing the potential to reach shared couple goals.