In many couples, the spouses try to divide responsibilities down the middle. Perhaps the wife handles indoor chores, most childcare, and cooking, while the husband handles appointments, car maintenance, and yard work. This works well for many types of chores, but financial planning should always be a shared responsibility for Christian men and women.
Because of the complexity of household finance, it’s vital that both partners fully understand the family’s financial picture. And because of the long-ranging consequences of financial decisions, it’s important both spouses have an equal say.
Financial Stewardship Is Biblical for Women
Many Christian women seek to imitate the ideal woman described in Proverbs 31. The inspired writer describes her as “above rubies” and “like the merchant ships.” Here are a few of her shining qualities:
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.(Proverbs 31:16-20)
This isn’t a woman who confines her efforts to the kitchen and playroom. She sees everything that helps her family as part of her duty, including running her own business and handling charitable donations.
If this passage were written today, we might hear about how she researches the best insurance plan, keeps emergency documents in order, and helped draft the family will. Anything that helps the family’s security and well-being is the natural role of a “keeper of the home.”
Practical Reasons to Be an Equal Partner
In the majority of opposite-sex couples (56%), the husband handles all long-term planning and retirement decisions. In many Christian couples, the woman may not even know what retirement accounts they have, how to log into their accounts, or how much they will have saved by retirement.
But since women usually outlive their husbands, eight out of ten women will find themselves managing their finances alone at some point. Women’s greater longevity means retirement planning affects them much more, yet they are often poorly equipped to handle these matters when the time comes. Their retirement plan—crafted entirely by the husband, without her input—might not take into account her own needs and wishes.
Often, money matters are left to the husband out of a misconception that men are better at finance. Men quickly pick up financial lingo and may feel more confident about their knowledge, but research has shown women are often better, more cautious investors. Only by working as a team can a couple utilize both spouses’ talents. The husband might be better able to use his confidence to talk down the price of a vehicle, but the wife might have done the prior research to know the right vehicle to buy. In other couples, the talents are distributed differently, but it’s highly unlikely one spouse got all the financial talents.
How to Start
If, up to this point, your husband has handled everything, it’s time to sit down and ask about all the accounts. What accounts do you have as a family, and what information do you need to know about each? Make sure you have logins for all accounts, in case of emergency and so that you can keep abreast of your financial progress.
Educate yourself about financial matters relevant to your family. For instance, if you have a 401(k) or IRA, learn what these are and how to manage them. Advice Chaser webinars can be an excellent place to start, or you can try researching online or at your local library. You may find that after an afternoon of reading, you know everything your husband does about a financial topic—or more.
Seeing a financial advisor together can be invaluable for getting onto the same page financially. A good financial advisor will want to see both spouses and get their input. The best advisors will take the time to make sure both of you understand everything about your financial picture.
Faith-Based Help for Christian Women
Advice Chaser partners with faith-based advisors who can help you inform financial decisions with your Christian faith. If you want to start taking initiative in your family’s finances, you can be the first to contact us and find an advisor ready to work with both of you.