When it comes to money, there should be no secrets from your spouse.
Transparency in your financial situation is the order of the day for future financial security.
In bygone times, most women didn’t work out of the house and the husbands controlled the purse strings. Today, many women go out to work and are more aware of their finances than before. But nonetheless, in many homes only one person still seems to handle the finances, and this is not necessarily a good situation.
Even if you have separate checkbooks and bank accounts, it's important to share your financial situation with your spouse. Recently I met with a widow who had absolutely no knowledge of her family's finances. Her husband took care of financial matters and told her not to worry. He assured her that everything was under control and organized. He was a smart man and kept tabs on the family's assets and liabilities ... all in his head. After a sudden heart attack he, and all of his financial records, were gone.
While a wife might think her husband is doing her a favor by not involving her in nitty-gritty financial matters (or vice versa), this is simply untrue. Ignorance may save you from day-to-day worrying about making ends meet, but when your spouse can no longer take care of matters, you are left in the lurch.
It is interesting to note that big companies never have only one person regulating the finances. Periodic audits and shareholders meetings provide ample opportunities for others to learn the details of fiscal management, even if they don't personally do the work. Similarly, if your spouse takes care of your financial situation, make sure you sit together on a regular basis to review matters. Make sure that you know what and where assets are held - both joint assets and separate. Find out what liabilities you have, and how and when they are paid. Do you know all income sources and your approximate budget? Make sure you know where insurance policies are, who your insurance agent is, and what is due you.
If you are the one that pays all bills and is the responsible one in your family, set aside some time to teach your spouse. If you are unaware of your family's finances, show this article to your other half and insist that s/he sit down with you for a fiscal review.
Keep a long-term perspective and involve family members in the fiscal functioning of family life. When it comes to couples and money, ignorance is not bliss.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for investment advice that takes into account each individual’s special position and needs. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.