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So true, so true. I think there are simple steps all couples should take, especially when there is one parent who is not working for income. For me, (obviously these differ for every person) they are:
-life insurance on both partners (a decent amount)
-home ownership (budget permitting)
-roth IRA’s for both partners
-complete access to the entire budget and accounts for both partners
-an equal share of ‘play’ money for both partners that does not need to be accounted for
We also each have an individual credit card, (as well as a joint card), though it is debatable how much good that would do me or DH is either of us went nuts and tried to financially destroy the other.]]>
The problem I have is that in the vast majority of cases, the woman takes on much more than her share of risk in the marriage. Worse, she often does not acknowledge the risks she’s taking, and she fails to consider the implications of her choices.
Women sometimes don’t even think about the earning power they’re giving up when they quit working. They usually will not even consider the possiblity of divorce (which, hello, is a statistical probability). Other factors like layoffs, disability, or death of the income earner don’t even occur to them. It’s very scary to me. So many women end up blindsided by these issues and saddled with regret–or trapped in loveless marriages for the sake of financial stability.
I admire you for discussing back-up plans, thinking ahead to what you two would do in a cash flow crunch, and being open to options such as you going back to work. It shows a mutual trust and respect which is the whole key to a successful marriage.]]>
Here is my situation. My spouse’s family has always done better financially than mine. However, we come from similar neighborhoods, similar cultural backgrounds, we are of the same religion, and had the same University education.
Even though our parent’s make drastically different salaries, they have similar financial attitudes. They only minimally helped their children attend college (both parent’s expected a lot out of their kids), they rarely eat out at restaurants, and they both are frugal with everyday expenses. Neither wears expensive clothes or drives fancy cars. The biggest difference is that when my DH’s parents pass away, they will have more money in the bank than mine.
Though neither of our families take much financial risk, (they probably could be much wealthier if they did), they believe in saving and living within their means.
On a side note, I am now a SAHM. Some friends ask me if I feel weird spending my DH’s money. Ha! Shows how much they know. I have no problems whatsoever with it. Through our early years of marriage I supported him financially while he finished his Masters degree. Now he supports me while he finishes a PhD and works FT. We both see it as ‘our’ money. He earns it, and I manage it.
It works great for us. I give him a breakdown once a week of where we stand financially. I also freely spend money for my own entertainment like going out to lunch with friends on occasion, or buying a new outfit on occasion. I say ‘freely’ not because I blow money on every whim and fancy, but because I know my DH will not have a problem with those purchases. I also remember to keep an eye on his wardrobe and ask him frequently if he needs any clothing replaced so I can keep my eyes open for sales.
In addition, my DH is a workhorse so I try and look for ways he can relax and have fun. He is the type of guy who needs to be reminded to take some time off to rest or play.
Basically we look out for each other. He is concerned that I am happy as a SAHM, and I am concerned that he doesn’t overdue it working himself to the bone. We always discuss backup plans, in case our current situation fails. We talk about me going back to work if needed, or selling our home and renting, or reducing our monthly costs through getting rid of gym memberships, cable, cell-phones, etc. (We don’t want to do any of these things, by the way, b/c they add to our quality of life; but we are willing to if necessary).
Anyway, that is the long version, but it totally works for us.
One last side note…marriage is a risk. Being a parent is a risk. I take risks by not working. My spouse takes risks by not managing the money. We can’t be perfect in everything, and we can’t guard against every disaster. We take comfort in knowing we are doing the best we can, in living frugally, and in maintaining a good relationship with each other. All of these things COULD fail. But we sincerely work hard each day so that they will not.]]>