A recent study from UBS: found that nearly half of the women — led by Millennials oddly — defer major financial and investment decisions to their male spouses.It broke my heart as it seems to convey that women are bad with money? Personally, I obviously disagree but I have also seen way too many instances of women not actively taking part in financial decisions. I cannot comment on peoples' decisions on who does what but personally being financially independent and aware is extremely uplifting. I cannot even begin to imagine myself in a relationship in which I don't have a say in our finances, our investments etc. That said, I also know that taking a step to learn about (personal) finance or money management can be very overwhelming which is why I want to shout out all the amazing Elphas in the world of personal finance, working towards enabling more women to feel comfortable with their finances! If you are one of them, I'd love for you to comment and introduce yourself - who knows someone here might need your support? Lastly, I am aware that through this post I am leaving aside a pretty significant segment of the population: same-sex couples. That's why I would love to hear your experiences (negative or positive) - assuming you are comfortable sharing!
One of the first pieces of marriage advice my mom gave me was, "have your own bank account" LOL. But in all seriousness, I absolutely agree both people in the relationship should have an active hand and understanding of the finances. Money is afterall, one of the biggest reasons for divorce. Thanks for sharing!
@HannahBaldovino - your mom knows what's up! YES exactly I am not saying women should run it all either - but yes somehow an equal split/ both parties should be involved!
I manage all our household finances, but we aren't a high-income household. AMA, I guess? I'm also personally interested in what other people do, and what people have found to be useful in their own lives.
Hi Isla, what is AMA? Same eager to hear from others!
"Ask me Anything" :D
Oh I knew this acronym but for some reasons did not place it in the context of your message haha :) Thank you!
Ditto, I'm in a hetero marriage and I manage our finances but we aren't high income (well, maybe I'm high income individually but our combined total isn't high income? And maybe that's why I manage the finances ... it's mostly my money ... )
Super interesting Maggie - do you enjoy being the one managing finances or you sort of never really thought about it and did it?
I do enjoy it (I even turned my spreadsheet into a template I sell on Etsy). I don't remember my thought process when I started, I think initially we paid our bills separately, but when my husband enlisted in the Navy and left for bootcamp, I had to take over everything out of necessity. And then realized I should have done that much sooner! My husband is also a bit of an "absent-minded professor" as I like to call him.
What you describe Iynna is exactly me! Since I was a child I always disliked the idea of having to manage money at all. Then I thought finding a partner apt at personal/family finance would be a blessing. Well I found the person and tied the knot a few years ago, not just because of his financial management skills of course but it did give me a good feeling at that time. Soon after I learned that this is not ideal. While I believe in "divide and conquer" in partnerships, completely relying on just one person for this important topic (among others) created some tensions between us - stress on him, unclear expectation from me, lack of common vision, etc. To change that I did a few things in 2020 :- We created a simple spreadsheet to track our main money matters. My partner is responsible to update it every month and then we will have a review meeting. This forms the basis of our ongoing conversation and planning towards the future we want to build together. Expectations are now clearer, I like that I have more visibility, and he finds it less stressful as he is not the only person carrying the load anymore. - I started to equip myself with knowledge, by first reading more about it. For example, an Elpha recommended InvestED by Danielle Town which focuses on the stock market. Not really where I want to start from but it's a nice read explaining some fundamental concepts from a woman's perspective. Danielle also hosts a podcast under the same title. - I started learning about crypto. I'm passionate about blockchain but totally avoided crypto just naturally. It was only recently that I got to appreciate crypto more as it is the most mature application of blockchain by far, in fact it's like the origin. I started with researching more about it, followed a few currencies and eventually plunged in and got a wallet myself to invest just a little bit. My personal finances aside, I started to realize how imbalanced the gender picture is when it comes to crypto investment. If this asset continues to grow (which I believe it will), gender inequity will just be exponential and will last for a long time. It's like history repeating itself. Now may be a pivotal period where we can do something to help women and the less privileged to create wealth, accumulate resources, and make the world a better place. Thanks for bringing up this topic! Writing the response helps me realize my little accomplishments so far. I do indeed feel better now about my finances than the start of 2020!
Hi Angie,Thank you so much for sharing your journey and opening up! I am glad you were able to realise that change was needed and now you do sound really fulfilled!I love the idea of the review meeting - uncomfortable but super interesting! I totally agree with you on the imbalanced nature of the personal finance/money management/personal investing space is. Change starts in our own lives and I am proud of you for taking a step towards your own financial empowerment. Have you ever thought about sharing this more widely perhaps blogging or so? I do believe more people could benefit from hearing this!
Thanks for sharing this article. I'm one of those Elphas that was this type of Millennial -- let my banker husband take care of the finances. It didn't used to be like this, but once I got married and we combined our accounts, I definitely took a back seat! This summer I finally realized "holy sh*t -- I let him take care of all our money and I don't have a f*cking clue what's up with our finances.... and I have only MYSELF to blame." It was a wake-up call.Since then, I've been diving into the world of understanding finances, investments, and most importantly, finding out just how other women feel about this. I've done heaps of field research, speaking to over 25 women about their experiences and it's not surprising to me at all to read this article. A lot of us, as the article states, "don't know where to start." Others are simply afraid or uncertain about how to deal with their finances. Emotions and psychology play a big part. Right now, I'm reviewing much of my research to see what prototypes to MVP. I'm currently playing around with a couple of solutions, so if any Elphas are interested in chatting with me about their $$ pain, please message me!Education helps address some of uncertainty on where to start, and I know @yxzhang as some great thoughts!
Thank you Reena! It is so interesting to hear that you were naturally in charge but then once you got married, perhaps the comfort of having some doing it was appealing? Which by the way has nothing wrong but I agree with you that having a wake up call can't harm you :) On how to deal with finances: there is definitely a lot of emotions and psychology + upbringing - there are therapists who specialise in the space, it speaks volume on how big the need is. Thank you for building solutions around it and I do hope you meet more Elphas in the space with whom yu can combine forces!
Such a great post, thank you so much for sharing!!! Emotions are everything when dealing with agree.
Aw of course Olivia! Yes - and it is funny you say this you might be interested in this podcast with Morgan Housel as a guest
Great topic @iynna, I was one of those who didn't pay attention to managing my finances until recently. Few months back I started learning to trade stocks along with a group of my girlfriends using IBD ( methodology. The book "How to make money in Stocks" by William O'Neil is a great resource for anyone wanting to get started. It teaches you how to read stock charts, finding winning patterns, right timing, buy, hold, sell rules to trade stocks in a less risky way. It has been so much fun learning as a group with friends and making some money :) Highly recommend the book for anyone wanting to learn stock trading (you can also find some IBD meetup groups to join).
Sujatha - thank you for sharing your story! I am super glad you found a way to learn on your own.Also take a look at JL Collins' Simple Path to Wealth - it's a great one.
I’ve never been investment savvy, but I have always lived with little to no debt. When I got married I ended up being the one who took over the finances and ensuring bills got paid on time, mostly because my now ex had bad habits and was a slacker in several ways, so that was the only way to ensure bills got paid timely. While together our finances were always stable even though we didn’t have a high income and he stopped working to go back to school. But I was smart enough to keep my personal bank account and separate credit cards, so when I left him we split the savings halfway (I was too nice), but he kept his own debt and had to get into more debt when he lost my income. The lesson here, being financially independent is extremely important, relationships are not guaranteed, and this goes to both men and women.
Wow Lita - this is another story that shows the importance of being financially independent. On a totally separate note, your comment sparked another thought - prenup and how crucial they are. As women gain more independence I am happy to see that these things are not as taboo as they used to be
For real! We were both low income when we got married, and even at divorce I wasn’t making much. But still got lucky he didn’t try to screw me over financially. Wish that was more standard regardless of income level. All I know now is that even if I ever do find a partner I am not getting married again or buying real estate with someone again, lesson learned lol
Thanks @iynna for starting great conversations and @reena for the shout-out. The idea of sharing responsibility and direction of finances with your partner/significant other feels important. Yet, I imagine for many juggling all the responsibilities of life, it can also fall in the category of life admin (easy to delay or just let one person deal with).Over the past few years, my partner and I started keeping a list of things to revisit annually so we both are involved in planning for our financial future--there are definitely things on list I still need to do, and many I've procrastinated on, however sharing in case it's helpful to others:1. How much cash/Emergency Fund do we need to feel comfortable? Should we adding more of a savings buffer or investing more?2. Are we still good with our asset allocation/investing plan?3. Do we have beneficiaries assigned for all our financial accounts? Do we need to update it?4. Do we have a plan for will/estate planning/advanced health directive? Any updates needed? 5. Can we consolidate any of the various insurance policies we have - car, renter's, etc. to get an umbrella rate?6. How much and to what organizations do we want to donate to?7. Do we want to put money towards a 529 plan under our own names that we can later transfer for someone else's education? (You can start a 529 plan before you have a child or even if you want to sponsor a family member's education)8. How often will we rebalance our investments this year?9. If we come across extra money (e.g. bonus, tax refund, raise), what percentage will go towards increased savings, investing, spending, giving or something else.
This is a great list of questions to start off of. Thanks for sharing!
@GinaVriens sure thing! Hope you found it helpful.
I am a Divorce Financial Planner who only works with women during and post-divorce.....I see this all the time and am so glad you are talking about this topic!!! (Around 87% of educated women still give financial reins and control to the husband thinking they can do a better job. That is SOO untrue but we women still feel more comfortable handing it over.)
Wow Olivia I have so many questions about your work if I may ask (obvi no pressure to respond at all). First off what is actually a divorce financial planner? Do you help women reclaim what's theirs in the process and work with lawyer etc. or something else (I had never heard the term before so I am curious!)? What made you start this venture? What's been the most surprising / unexpected thing you saw during your experience supporting women going through these periods? Thank you for contributing and I am excited to hear your thoughts!
@Iynna,I know it’s a very specific and unique niche!It’s a mix of divorce consulting and setting expectations financially and emotionally during and post-divorce, helping find assets and making sure she is not screwed over during divorce, financial planning and advocating for women during divorce with their attorney on their side. I started this in this niche after almost a decade managing assets and having women come to me post-divorce to get advise on finances. They didn’t need a retirement portfolio or plan, they needed help financially with every little thing like opening bank accounts, credit cards and discussing whether to keep the house or not after divorce! I needed to quit my wealth management job in order to fully give them the attention and also help them not make massive financial mistakes during divorce. Most surprising thing is having client with 80 million almost give it away to her ex when she was so over the divorce proceedings. I stepped in, helped out with the process as the divorce financial analyst. Divorce isn’t fun but women shouldn’t just quit and give the finances away if they are tired and overwhelmed with the process if they have powerful or narcissistic spouse. Your ex won’t help you retire or keep your lifestyle, so it’s all about having the right team! :)
Such an important topic. Thanks for raising this @iynnaI'll start off with a great resource-- This fits my personality as I like to "set it and forget it"-- establish my financial strategy and then check in periodically.My personal story about why being financially savvy matters:As an engineer/doctor I've always liked numbers and been comfortable managing my own money, understanding risks/rewards. When I got married, my husband was totally happy to have me set the financial strategy for us, particularly around big goals like building a house, thinking about taking a sabbatical year to travel, etc. We had both joint accounts and separate accounts, and made decisions together, although I was the one generally coming up with a strategy and then sharing that with him.Sadly, I lost him a few years later and was widowed unexpectedly with an infant. I also had a demanding corporate job (luckily), a house, and a long commute. I was also fortunate to have incredible family and friends supporting me. While the personal impact of that was devastating, it would have been even worse if I had not been able to manage our finances and felt secure that I could plan for a drastically changed future in a hurry. Based on my new strategy I was able to take time off to spend with my child and move into roles that required significantly less travel. Five years later we are really fortunate to be in a great place.I hope nothing of this magnitude ever happens to any of you, but I heard so many stories of women who were widowed young and had to contend with enormous bureaucratic messes even to understand their financial situation, much less get their finances straightened out. It's up to you and your partner how you determine what is best, but I would absolutely advise that you have, at the very least, a high level understanding, and then as much knowledge needed to get yourself comfortable.Happy to share details of how I thought about financial planning (not just retirement accounts, but disability insurance, estate planning, 529 college accounts, etc) separately.Loved reading everyone else's comments in the discussion.