Does your husband manage all the finances in your relationship, do the bill-paying, and make the big decisions about major investments and financial planning? According to a UBS Global Wealth Management report, 56 percent of married women say “yes.” Should a Michigan divorce come knocking, this arrangement can throw far too many women for a loop, leaving them without a clue as to the financial health of their marriage, and how to function financially on their own, during and after divorce.
What Is Your Role in Important Financial Decisions?
You may assume that older generations are the only married couples who fall into the traditional gender roles of men dealing with the money and women dealing with the house. But this is not the case. Sixty-one percent of millennial women and 54 percent of female baby boomers leave the investment decisions to their husbands.
Allowing your spouse to deal with the big financial decisions is not always a conscious choice for women. Many women take on the lion’s share of child-rearing – from feeding to bathing to chauffeuring to teaching to nurturing and more. They work, take care of the home, do the shopping, tend to schedules, and so on. There isn’t always much room left in a woman’s day to deal with one more major decision, especially when it comes to money. The roles fall into place, and it’s often easy to just allow your spouse to take on the financial chores of your household – when you’re in a good relationship.
Unfortunately, many women who are relatively in the dark about what’s happening with their dollars and cents kick themselves later for their lack of involvement in household finances if a divorce comes to pass. Fifty-nine percent of divorcees (and widows) regret not taking part in long-term financial planning when they were a couple. Makes you think twice about the value of a prenuptial agreement, huh?
The Danger of Financial Abdication
The UBS report refers to women who wash their hands of marital finances as committing “financial abdication.” Fifty-six percent of divorcees admit they discovered unexpected financial matters while splitting up, some good (e.g., 401(k) plans they didn’t know existed) and some bad (e.g., major debt, poor investment choices). Interestingly enough, women are still more likely to initiate a divorce.
While going into the dissolution of your first marriage somewhat ignorant of marital holdings is a serious complication, at least there is one positive of financial fallout from the first marriage: In second marriages, eight out of 10 women are more active in the financial decisions regarding their current marriage.
It’s important to be practical about ignoring the financial element of your union: Even if you don’t get divorced, women have longer life expectancies than men. At some point, you are likely to find yourself holding the money bag and potentially having no idea what’s inside (or what’s not).
Take Control of Your Financial Present and Future
Divorce is difficult enough without feeling like you’re on shaky footing where your assets are concerned. To convincingly fight for what is rightfully yours in a marriage, it’s critical to know what financial components are part of your relationship, especially if financial infidelity is one of the causes of your divorce.
Having an experienced Michigan divorce attorney on your side will help you uncover any financial secrets, ensure that you don’t shoulder more of the financial burden of your split than necessary, and walk away with a fresh slate that you’re prepared to know every inch of so you’re never caught in money illiteracy ever again.
Consult with Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Macomb, Michigan, to talk about the financial side of divorce so you’re not left in the dark. Contact us to schedule your appointment.