Money and Power in your Relationship

Money = Power. Power = Control. Control = Happiness. Are these the formula’s that rule your life?

Before the mid-nineteenth century, women in many states did not have the right to own property, draw up a contract or manage their own money. The husband legally did all of those things. In the nineteenth century and before, men had the legal and societal authority to force their wives to take actions the wives might not otherwise have taken.

Wives were forbidden by law and forced by custom to avoid financial accounting and decision making. Men had the money. Men had the power. Men had the control.

The ripples of the past affect the present. For years after the laws were changed, society still dictated that men should run all things financial, that women were incapable of understanding or dealing with finances.

We still see evidence of the past even now in 2012.

Women as a group earn less than men. Because women tend to earn less than men, I think they tend to allow men to be the financial decision makers. I know that was true of me early on in my marriage, when I was home caring for babies. I felt that he was the one making the money and he should be able to spend any disposable income however he wanted. Not until I started making more than he, did I feel free to decide what investments to make, where to keep the money and how to use disposable income.

Women spend more time caring for others and nurturing relationships than they do thinking about finances. Don’t assume your partner will handle your finances, make the time to study, learn and handle them.

Women as a group still need to be more involved in managing money. Who pays the bills at your house? Who sets up the online automatic bill paying, savings additions and systematic investments? Who prepares the taxes? Who makes the final call on major spending decisions? There is no ‘right’ sex to handle these. Divide and conquer these tasks. Switch them up from time to time so the other partner becomes intimate with them as well.

To move to the next level of financial involvement, women should consider whether or not they are doing the following:

  • Understanding and managing our own credit scores
  • Partnering is setting family financial goals
  • Preparing and updated family budgets
  • Making sure our lives are insured even if we don’t work – especially while we are caring for dependents and the household
  • Managing the household savings and/or investments
  • Maintaining and managing our retirement investments
  • Determining type of housing and timing of switches between types
  • Demanding that our careers take equal or higher priority than our partner’s
  • Choosing an educational path and career that provide the opportunity for greater earnings and satisfaction
  • Treating our businesses with importance and professionalism
  • Taking charge of putting estate plans in place for our assets
  • Loosing the attitude of financial powerlessness – it shouldn’t matter who brings home the most money
  • Becoming financially literate at earlier ages.

Don’t be a financial ‘victim’ – take charge of your financial life!

Is there something in your relationship holding you back from taking charge of your financial life?  How can you overcome that to become a fully functional financial female?

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about Relationships and Money see Relationships and Money Roundup

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