Believe it or not, money is not my favorite topic.
But money can have such a big impact in marriage, which is a topic that is dear to my heart. That is why I write about it, and that’s the motivation behind the 5-5-5 Series on Marriage and Money (or the 5-5-5 of Finances for short). So let’s jump right in to the first installment, which discusses some reasons for avoiding the subject of money:
1. “It’s my husband’s job, and he’s great at it!”
It’s a fact—the Bible even says so—we all have different skills and abilities. And money management just comes more easily to some people. So if you were a serial check-bouncer who had the good fortune of marrying a CPA, you may have been very happy to hand over your checkbook on your wedding day. Even if the skill differential isn’t that extreme, what’s wrong with leaving all of the bill paying to your husband, especially if he’s good at it and maybe even enjoys it? Why on earth would you want to rock that boat??
2. “What’s there to know?”
The house is paid off. The cars are paid off. Most or all of the bills are paid automatically, and you stay within budget for discretionary spending. You have at least 6 months of a cash reserve. You make regular contributions to the kids’ college and your own retirement accounts. You also give frequently and generously. After years of careful saving and frugal spending, you have achieved that to which many of us aspire—true financial freedom. There’s not really anything to be involved in!
3. “It always leads to a fight.”
One of you mails checks and the other prefers online bill paying. He thinks you paid the electric bill and you think he did—so the lights get turned off. But the water bill was paid twice. Even when you have a good system for tracking and communicating about the bills, you can forget, make mistakes, and miss messages.
Aside from the logistical challenges of managing money together, it’s hard for many couples just to talk about money (as I discussed here and here). These conversations can stir up all kinds of emotions, from fear and worry to anger and bitterness. They can evoke painful childhood memories of hunger and lack, or of your own parents’ conflicts about finances. On the other hand, you might be frustrated that your spouse approaches money differently than your parents did. With so many issues wrapped up in this one topic, it’s no wonder that many wives (and husbands for that matter) avoid talking about it.
4. “My husband won’t tell me what’s going on.”
If your husband is stressed about your financial situation, he may want to spare you from the worry that he is experiencing. And while he would not be justified in being unkind, he may feel angry or defensive when you ask about money. Or everything could be fine and he just might be busy. Sitting down to explain everything might seem like a chore to him, especially if he keeps the information in various different places (or all in his head). There could be any number of reasons. The point is, as hard as it is to discuss finances with your spouse, it’s almost impossible if one of you is unwilling. And there’s yet another barrier: if you have been uninterested in finances in the past, questions now may be met with skepticism. “Why the sudden concern?” he may wonder. You probably don’t want to give the impression that you doubt his ability (even if you really do).
5. “To be honest, I just don’t care.”
There is more to life than money, and more problems to think about than financial ones. Health problems. Kids’ behavior problems. Problems at work, with your parents, your siblings, and of course, with your spouse. Life can be overwhelming, and sometimes it feels like you don’t have an extra brain cell—or tears—to spare. Certainly not on something that, at best is in your husband’s capable hands, or at worst, seems so hopelessly beyond redemption that you might as well forget it altogether. What good does it do to spend any time thinking about your finances if you feel powerless to change them?
So if you weren’t before, are you now thoroughly convinced that trying to learn more about your finances is a terrible idea?? Do you never want to see a bank statement or 1040 form ever again? If so, or if you have other reasons that I didn’t mention, I hope you will read the next installment in the series: 5 Reasons to Get Involved in Your Finances.
Thanks for stopping by,