personal finances for women

Personal Finances for Women: The Lady’s Room: Visit 2

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The Lady’s Room series offers a female perspective on financial matters that impact of woman’s life. Think of it as a not-so-secret look into personal finances for women–and in The Lady’s usual style, it’s all sorts of classy and sassy. You ready for another visit to the Lady’s room? I am and this time I invited the married Ladies.

The Lady’s Room, Visit 2

The first visit to The Lady’s Room featured the self-proclaimed “Ladies.” This visit is all about those who pursued their MRS degree; the married ladies.
Being married and sharing financial responsibilities with someone is no small thing. It requires trust, communication, shared values and visions–and a good deal of compromise.
In a 2015 Forbes article titled 10 Ways To Prevent Money From Ruining Your Marriage, the author states:
“Money issues are so troublesome that people who say they’re experiencing stress in their relationship cite finances as the number one reason — easily beating out the second place contender: annoying habits, according to a study by SunTrust. Money issues are also responsible for 22% of all divorces, making it the third leading cause, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis.”
personal finances for women
Here are a few other facts I dug up about marriage and finances.
  • Nearly all Americans in committed relationships (91 percent) agree that it is important to discuss their partner’s financial history before marriage, yet 26 percent admit they tend to avoid talking about financesSource: 2011 Lawyers.com Couples and Money survey
  • An American Express survey found that only 43 percent of the general population talked money before marriage, but the number rises to 57 percent for affluent couples and jumps to 81 percent for young professionals. And 12 percent of the general population says they’ve never talked about money with their spouse. Source: American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, June 2010 
  • In a 2016 Ameriprise survey of over 3,000 adults, approximately 31% of all couples — even the happiest ones — clash over their finances at least once a month. The most common points of disagreement: Major purchases (34%),Decisions about finance and children (24% of respondents with kids), A partner’s spending habits (23%), Important investment decisions (14%). Source: Money Habitudes Online
  • A 2015 TD Bank Love and Money survey reported that women find talking about money more important to a happy relationship than men do: 75 percent of female respondents feel that it’s “very important,” compared to 67 percent of male respondents. Source: Money Habitudes Online
  • A 2005 study looked at survey data gathered from 1,010 randomly sampled newlywed couples and found that starting a marriage with consumer debt has a “negative impact on newlywed levels of marital quality.” Not surprisingly, those with the “highest amounts of debt (e.g., $20,000 – 50,000) had the lowest marital satisfaction and adjustment scores of all participants.” Source: The Effects of Debt on Newlyweds and Implications for Education 

Every marriage is different and, of course, there is no “right” way to handle finances within a relationship. As I’m divorced and don’t have a lot of constructive things to say on this topic, I’ll rely on four of my fellow personal finance bloggers to tell you all about it, more specifically those with “Mrs” in their blog name or Twitter handle. Please show a little link love and visit their blogs.

personal finances for women

What is the classiest piece of financial advice you can offer to a young couple, just starting out on their life’s path together?

What’s the sassiest thing you’ve done with your money behind your spouse’s back?

personal finances for women

personal finances for women

Mrs. Groovy

One of the first couples I ever followed were Mr. and Mrs Groovy of Freedom is Groovy. Maybe it was their signature cat logo that caught my eye. Maybe it was their incredibly accessible take on personal finances. I’m not sure but their blog says they want “to teach my fellow Americans how to liberate themselves from the yoke of bumbling bureaucrats and the pointlessness of pointless jobs.” I mean, come on!  How groovy is that!?!

Classy

I’m making an assumption that the couple is married and neither partner has previous children or wealth.

My advice is two-fold: 1) Combine finances and 2) Do not have money secrets. In a marriage, “yours” and “mine” become “ours”. That goes for income, debt, expenses, savings, investments, cash windfalls – the entire works. Marriage is an all-in commitment.

What you spend money on illuminates your values, goals, and dreams. Assuming you marry someone with similar values how would it possible, then, to achieve your goals and build your dreams together while keeping separate finances?

Some folks insist a marriage can work without joining finances but in my opinion, it’s difficult to form a true lasting commitment to your marriage if you keep a “yours” and “mine” mentality.

Also, ladies, your mother may have told you to put aside a secret stash of money because you just “never know” what might happen down the road and “a girl should always have her own money”. I don’t agree. Stashing money secretly is called hedging your bets. One dictionary definition of hedging your bets is protecting yourself against making the wrong choice. That lack of faith could lead to the un-doing of a marriage.

Sassy

See answer above. I’ve never done anything behind Mr. Groovy’s back with money. I don’t believe in keeping money secrets. If I wanted to do my own thing I wouldn’t have gotten married.

personal finances for women

Mrs. Apathy Ends

Mr. and Mrs AE of Apathy Ends are regulars in the PF Twitterverse. Their philosophy is to kill apathy, embrace ambition, and take action to become your own best success story. They are crushing their debt aggressively while heroically raising a family. They seem a nice couple with shared values and goals, and all with an envy-worthy net worth profile.

Classy

Talk.

I grew up in a house where talking about money wasn’t tasteful. Your money situation was considered private and talking about it with your kids most likely meant that they were going to tell everyone how much you made. So my parents decided it was best not to talk about anything.

My step-mom is pretty much anti-savings while my dad is anti-spend so I grew up going back and forth about not spending anything (but then what was I supposed to do with it?) and then spending things because “you can’t take money with you”.

Guess which one was more appealing to a VERY stereotypical Jr./Sr. high school female?

Even if you don’t have kids, if you keep separate bank accounts, talk. Talk to each other about your financial goals and what your plans are to do with your money. Whether it be the fun things or the not so fun things, one of you could be left in the dust while the other basking in the sun. Why would you want to end up at two completely different finish lines?

Sassy

Let me paint a picture for you…I went to Target during my lunch break with a co-worker a few months before I went on maternity leave, I don’t remember what I bought, but I swiped my card and paid for my purchases. While I waited for my co-worker to check out I received a text from Mr. AE saying “What did you spend 15$ on at Target?”

WHAT?! I had swiped my card 3 minutes ago. So “behind my spouses back” is a really TOUGH thing for me to accomplish…imagine what holidays are like trying to buy for him!

One purchase that could be considered QUITE sassy is my 3 times (or more) coffee that I get every week. Every weekend Mr AE talks to me about how we have to cut coffee from our budget and make it at home. And every weekend I nod my head and agree that we should do this. Do I?

Nope.

personal finances for women

Mrs. Picky Pincher

Picky Pinchers, a frugality and personal finance blog, is all about pinching the pennies that are important to you. They say “We aren’t about sacrificing quality of life or being stingy with money. We spend money on the things that matter and cut out the expenses that don’t matter.” Mr and Mrs PP are a journey to pay off $225,000 of debt while living the good life.

Classy

I tell newlyweds the same thing: avoid debt like head lice. If you’re able to avoid the car loans, student loans, and ridiculously huge mortgage, you’re setting yourself up for success. It’s much harder to pay off debt than it is to avoid debt.

Sassy

Probably the sassiest (and silliest) thing I’ve done is buy a $5 throw pillow.

Mr. Picky Pincher HATES throw pillows. I love them and I think they liven up the house, so I enjoy grabbing an extra throw pillow when the mood strikes me. I really try not to do things behind Mr. Picky Pincher’s back, though, especially if it concerns money.

Money management is a joint effort for us, so I like to keep him updated on (mostly) everything I buy.

personal finances for women

Mrs. Quest

Mrs. Quest, from Our Quest for FIRE, is an ex-ad exec who decided to apply her creative talents to the most deserving of all clients; children. She is a junior high teacher, and together with Mr. Quest, are a cool couple pursuing FIRE. The fact they live in Los Angeles County makes that a tough uphill battle. But based on their resolve and their realistic take on financial independence, I think they’ve got a decent shot.

Classy

Starting out as a couple is a very exciting time especially if you are moving into a new place together and/or planning a wedding. With those big events, it’s easy to get caught up in the tiny details that can add up to a lot of money. It’s so easy to spend without even knowing it.

My advice to young couples starting out is to keep the long game in mind.

You are planning a whole LIFE together and you need a healthy finance to get you through the years together. Don’t spend it so frivolously on the super expensive centerpieces or paying more for a certain colored napkin at your wedding. Those minor details aren’t that important to your guests and during the day of your wedding, you probably won’t pay much attention to it anyway. You will be busy partying the night away. The same goes for moving in together. Get the bare essentials first. Don’t hurry to fill up every nook, cranny, and wall of your new place. Let the decorations come gradually.

You will save some more money because you aren’t rushed and you’ll end up with some pieces you will really adore for the years to come.

Sassy

Mr. Quest and I are open with our finances and don’t tend to keep secrets from each other.

The sassiest thing would probably be planning his 30th birthday party with friends. Since our accounts are linked, he’ll know when and where I use our credit cards. I had our friends pay for our comedy show tickets for that night and make all the reservations for lunch and dinner so he won’t accidentally see it in our email. During the months leading up to his birthday, I would periodically pull $100-200 cash from the atm and keep it to pay back our friends or pay for the little things in preparation for the party.

personal finance for women

Final Thoughts

Managing a marriage and mixed money is a tough thing. I respect each of the Ladies featured here today for making it work. There are days when I’m sure you want to tear their hair out or key their car but you don’t because you a good wife and loving partner. Your men are lucky to have you. Don’t ever forget that.

By the way, any of your Misters have a single brother?

If you are interested in participating in future visits to the Lady’s Room, please contact me here.

 

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4 comments

  1. I am a big fan of the Groovy’s and all of their relationship advice. They waited to get married, have no kids, and are on the same page more so than most couples!. Like you, I too have been married and divorced. I learned a whole bunch of what we did right and what we did wrong when it comes to money. We shared all expenses 50/50 even though he made way more than me. I didn’t want to feel like I “owed” him anything. In the midst of my parents not so happy divorce, my mom taught me to “always make your own money”. Making your own money is one thing, but coupling it with never depending on anyone else (which is what I translated it as) is another. As Mrs. Groovy pointed out, don’t hedge your bets financially, emotionally, or otherwise. Marriage is a shared adventure. 🙂

    1. This is great!

      I do have to say, it’s more of a “did you spend $15 at Target” based on how many “have you seen my credit card” convos we have 😉

      My brother is single And throw pillows are the worst!

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