I’ve been in the financial industry for over 33 years, so I’ve seen firsthand how much of the marketing for financial planning is usually targeted at the man of the house.
However, my personal experience – and the latest trends in financial planning – have taught me that it’s not always the men who deal with the day-to-day spending and investing. “Nearly 80 percent of women in relationships bear the responsibility of managing household finances – often with little help from their significant others.” (Source)
That was certainly the case when I was growing up. My dad was very irresponsible as a business owner and there was tremendous financial strain; it was my mother who provided the financial stability to our family - yet she received no credit for this.
I have a feeling that the scenario that happened during my upbringing was probably happening in other households as well – it was just that no one ever talked about it.
The good news is that things are changing.
How to Work Together as a Couple
While it’s encouraging to know that more women are taking more control of their financial futures, it’s also important to find ways to work together as a couple.
When I sit down with a couple, there is usually one person who is more comfortable with talking about finances than the other – and that person has automatically handled the finances during the course of the relationship.
However, as we work on a comprehensive financial plan for the family, much of the value comes from both partners being united in the financial decision making. For most people, considering major goals and planning ahead is a new concept. This means that both partners need to be involved.
A Starting Point
The best place to start is understanding some financial terminology. Here are a few concepts that we go over when we start working together:
As we move forward, I encourage BOTH parties to stay involved. For example, if she is responsible for paying the monthly bills, writing checks, and establishing the EFT payments, he should take the time to review the monthly statement from the bank. I also suggest that couples schedule a quarterly or semi-annual “date” to review investment statements together.
Finding a Balance
It’s exciting to see more women becoming an active part of their household finances – but ideally what we want is a balance.
Conversations around finances are important to have from the beginning of the relationship. Yes, it can be very emotional discussing money, but this communication can make or break you.
Remember that if you’re finding it difficult to have these discussions…that’s what financial planners are for. We’re a neutral third party that often help couples move ahead with financial decisions without the emotion. We provide you with the facts and then simplify the process to help you visualize the benefits of hard work and the discipline of consistent investing.
Debbie Charpentier has been serving clients since 1989 by using a holistic, comprehensive approach that helps clients create the life they value and the legacy they envision. Charpentier Wealth Strategies is a Bakersfield, CA Financial Planning practice that offers fee-based financial planning services. To contact Debbie, email Debbie.Charpentier@LFG.com. http://charpentierwealth.com/ Debbie Charpentier is a registered representative offering securities and investment advisory services through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., (Member SIPC). Charpentier Wealth Strategies is a marketing name for registered representatives of Lincoln Financial Advisors. CRN-3785116-092321