Women and finance: Staying involved

In 1809, Mary Kies became the first American woman to hold a U.S. patent in her own name for her original way to weave straw with silk. 

 

In 1825, Rebecca Lukens became the first female CEO of an industrial company in the United States, and was inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame in 1994. 

 

In 1839, Mississippi passed the Married Women’s Property Act, which gradually strengthened women’s claims to ownership and financial independence. 

 

Just think, this was all before women were even allowed to vote! 

 

Women have been more than involved in business and finances for centuries, and modern thinking and constitutional progress have allowed women to propel forward, giving them more freedom and opportunities to be successful in any way they choose. 

 

Now, we’re not in the 1800s anymore, and things have definitely changed, but we can still open a dialogue surrounding women’s involvement in their family finances, and why it matters to us at True Wealth & Company. Our focus is women because, according to heaps of studies, women are the ones who are statistically less involved, taking a minor role in money decisions that affect their future.

There’s no such thing as a back seat

Whether it’s a man or woman in charge of the accounts, sometimes it seems easier to let your partner take control of your finances and make all of the money decisions on your behalf. Whether it’s less stress on you or you just feel like the other person will do a better job, we find it’s common that one person (usually a woman) takes more of a back seat role. Maybe sometimes it just makes organizational sense to divide and conquer, when you both have so many things going on in your lives, but both parties staying informed is important to you and your family’s overall financial health. If your agreement comes down to one person who will handle the finances, it should be an inclusive process, where both sides know what’s happening at all times. One person can drive, but the other should be in the passenger’s seat.

Attend meetings together

Lives are crazy, and sometimes it may seem impossible to even find time for yourselves without the kids screaming or the chiming of new emails on your phones going off at a rapid pace. Although you may just not have the time to sit down weekly and chat about your finances in detail, the least that you can do as a couple is to put a monthly financial check-in on the calendar to update each other on where things are at with your money. Attending meetings with your financial advisor together is an easy way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and informed about where your money is, what it’s doing, and what decisions need to be made. It’s an ideal space for Q&As, updates, and decision-making conversations, where both parties are included in a productive format, with a financial service professional at your fingertips. At True Wealth & Company, we are here to work for you to ensure that the decisions that you’re making as a family are conducive to your future work optional lifestyle.

It’s all about compromise

Are you going to put that extra money toward your kids’ college funds or take your children on a trip of a lifetime over the summer? New car or remodeled kitchen? It’s common to have different ideas about where your spending money goes… that’s not the problem. The issue becomes when it’s a shock to the other person or when it doesn’t line up to one partner’s financial vision! Coming up with a firm plan, and compromising when needed, will go a long way when it comes to making sure that both parties come to an agreement. We think that we know our spouses better than anybody, right? But you know that they can still throw us for a loop sometimes! It’s dangerous to assume what the other person would want and it’s better to have a 5-10 minute conversation and then formalize a plan with your advisor, locking down the decision with details.

Think long-term

Long-term financial planning is a key component to your financial health, whether you are married, single, in a non-traditional relationship, or maybe it’s just you and Fido. While short-term planning is necessary to keep the budget in tact, thinking toward the future will ensure that goals are set, and habits are formed around those goals. According to U.S. News & World Report, a study found that 85% of women manage everyday expenses, but only 23% take the lead when it comes to long-term financial planning. Why is that? Is that a societal norm that women have become accustomed to, is it a place where women generally feel more comfortable, or is it because the right opportunity to jump in hasn’t presented itself? Studies continue to show that women are outliving men, and although it may be hard to get out of the present, and think about the future, being involved in long-term finances from the beginning will ensure that women are easily able to sustain control over their future and their family’s future, when their spouse is no longer around. A study, reported by CNBC, found that when couples work together on long-term money goals, women reported higher confidence in their future, fewer mistakes, and less stress surrounding their financials. 

 

While the relationship between women and money has changed dramatically over the years, it is still developing and continuing to transform. While there is no textbook right or wrong way to do things when it comes to who takes the ownership of financial planning, we’ve all heard the nightmares and horror stories, when one person is left in the dark, and an unfortunate circumstance brings uncertainties to light. 

According to CNBC, a study found that 58% of women leave crucial financial choices to their male partner, and that number is pretty staggering when you think of the mere fact that women outlive men. Whether a woman is married, in a non-traditional relationship, or somewhere in between, it doesn’t matter. It is beneficial for women to be fully engaged in their finances and they should feel comfortable taking a more active role in big money decisions, if not already. We believe the stakes are too high and women are putting themselves and their families at risk financially when they continue to stay out of the picture.