Wisdom for Wives

"Be diligent to know the state of your flocks …"

5 Reasons to Stay Out of Finances

on March 29, 2014

5 Reasons to Avoid Finances

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,


9 responses to “5 Reasons to Stay Out of Finances

  1. Lisa says:

    I respectfully disagree, and I was hoping the title of this blog post was sarcasm or irony. In fact, I believe it’s very dangerous for women to be ignorant of their finances. In some marriages (like mine), the woman is better at managing the finances than the husband. My personality and skill set make me better organized and more detail-oriented than he is. My husband was thousands of dollars in debt when we got married with very little savings. When I took over the finances, I got us on track to get rid of the debt, and now we have over $20,000 in savings. Reason #2 is the goal, but definitely not the reality for most marriages. There are A LOT of things to know. We’ve been married less than 3 years, so we still have a mortgage, student debt, utility bills, life insurance, and retirement plans that are active. As for #3 and #4, just because it’s a difficult topic doesn’t mean it should be avoided. It’s CRUCIAL for women to be informed about their finances. In the horrible event that something should happen to their husband, the wife needs to know what it will take to keep her family financially afloat. I had an uncle who died suddenly and tragically. He handled the finances himself, and it was a very difficult process for his wife to figure out once he was gone. The same thing happened to my grandmother when my grandfather died. And finally, money may not be a very interesting subject, but it is a fact of life in this day and age. It is possible to manage it wisely (being good stewards) and becoming obsessed or overly concerned. Please, please reconsider encouraging women to be ignorant.

    • wisdom4wives says:

      Hi Lisa! Thank you very much for commenting. What I’m acknowledging here is that many women struggle in the area of finances. But I actually agree with YOU. As I mentioned at the end of the post, my next installment will discuss reasons why women SHOULD be involved in their finances, and you’ve already given an excellent preview. 🙂 So I hope you will come back on Saturday and continue participating in the discussion!

  2. Amanda says:

    This is an interesting article… My husband and I have found in our marriage that I am actually better with our finances than he is, so I do most of the money management.

    • wisdom4wives says:

      Hi Amanda,
      It’s true–in some marriages, the wife *is* the better money manager. Whoever it is, hopefully both spouses know what’s going on! Thank you for commenting!!

  3. Hi, stopping in from Marriage Monday. I do think both should be aware of the finances. If an emergency happens, one will be in the dark on everything; this is never good. Also, it sets up a permission of what the other can spend and this can be trouble.

  4. Brittany says:

    lol. These are actually the reasons my husband would use why HE stays out of our finances! I’m the one who does all the bills around here, instead of the other way around! I update him every so often on the big things, but we don’t get into the specifics too much. We’re getting better at talking about it, but its not an easy process!

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