Q. During the good times in the 1980s and 1990s, my husband managed our money and I didn't care because I make a small salary and his income gave us a very comfortable life. Now things changed. He lost that job and his new one is low paid. I manage my small checking account for household expenses, but I don't really know details of our long-time savings and investment accounts. I know we still have them but haven't used them because we've really cut our budget to fit our new income. How can I start to get in on the family money management? I've let him do it alone so long I think he may feel insulted if I ask, especially since his job change affected his self-esteem.
Ans. How about your self-esteem? It's time you began thinking enough of yourself to believe you deserve to know as much about your family finances as he does. This isn't about HIM. It's about MONEY and you should be managing it as a couple in good or bad times if you expect the marriage to last. . Jane Honeck, CPA and author of The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money! believes that while a SmartMoney Magazine survey revealed that 70 percent of all couples talk about money at least once a week, the communication isn't very effective. Her tips are:Talk, talk and talk about it to start real communication about it. Balance power around money. One person making all the decisions and having all the control is a recipe for disaster. Find ways for you both to be equally engaged in all money decisions. Decide together what is mine, yours and when things get tough, address problems immediately (no secrets allowed Schedule an annual money checkup with each other.)