When you get married at 25 like I did and you have been with your spouse since you were 22, it's very easy to completely merge your lives to an almost co-dependent degree. My husband and I do everything together, from grocery shopping to errand running to the running of our households. We don't divvy up the tasks. We do them together.
Until recently that was true of almost everything. Except money. Yes, I am embarrassed to say that after years spent as a stay-at-home mom and now as a working mom who is 100 percent at home, I still turned all of the financial aspects of our marriage over to my husband. We have one bank account, and until about two years ago, I never even checked it. All bills were paid by him and anything that came in from any other source was always handed immediately over to him.
I am not sure how it got this way, but it was a mistake. I am changing. Not because I am unhappy in my marriage. I am as happy as ever. But I do know financial dependence on a man isn't a good idea.
Here are 5 of the biggest money mistakes many smart, educated women are making right now in their marriages:
1.) Letting him handle all the bills: Take a few on yourself. It's a good idea for the marriage (even husbands get overwhelmed), but also good insurance that you are still on the ball, building credit in your name, and generally staying fresh.
2.) Not looking at bank statements: I cringe when I think of myself doing this. I was acting more like a daughter than a grown-up. Now I take responsibility for my spending and for his. We talk about our money and allocate funds better. We are a team and it also means we have more money since we are both keeping an eye out for strange charges and flawed billing in our account.
3.) Not knowing how much he makes: This seems crazy to me, but some women don't know how much their man makes. This should NOT be a secret. These are joint budget decisions and both partners should be aware of how much there is available to spend.
4.) Not keeping some for yourself: Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a career woman who makes more than your husband, it's a good idea to save some money for oneself. I totally don't do this, but I need to. It's not that I think I will get divorced, but it's nice to not fight over his beer brewing hobby or my shoe collection. This would work well if we had separate piles of money. Some for him. Some for me. Perfect!
5.) Lying about spending: Let's grow up ladies! Lying about how much things cost is immature and we are acting like children when we do so. Own up to purchases. Better yet, pick an amount -- say $200. Below that you can spend without a discussion. Above that and BOTH of you need to consult the other. Done and done!
What money mistakes have you made in your marriage?
Image via Jenifer Correa/Flickr