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No clue about finances?

March 13th, 2015 at 07:40 am

I find it stunning that so many women have no clue about their family finances. I mean literally no clue. Now you'd think okay maybe because they are stay at home moms? Nope. Turns out that many of them are also working moms. It doesn't appear to matter. I find it incredible that so many women in a marriage have no idea what they have saved, make, or spend in a month. I'll tell you a few different stories recently which left me wondering WTF?

Dr H is a primary care doctor with three kids and her husband works as well. They are super busy and never have time to manage their money. They are pretty frugal and don't overspend and save a lot. BUT they could be saving more. Unfortunately neither Dr H and DH haven't a clue what they spend. They went to their financial advisor and said we were thinking about buying Amazon Prime to save on shipping. The FA said "you've been paying for 5 years for Amazon prime and had no idea you've been paying it?" DH said "I just pay our bills in full, we've never looked." Dr H tells me and a friend this story and says the FA told them they should probably try to see what they are spending their money on. Thankfully they make enough to not care, but it could be detrimental.

Friend Mrs. C is a full time school teacher. She has no idea what she makes or what they save. She says her husband takes care of everything and he tells her what she can spend on groceries. She says that she's sure he's taking care of their retirement but has no idea if she even has a Roth IRA or college accounts for the kids.

As you all are aware Mrs A is the financial train wreck of a stay at home mom. Has no idea what they make or spend and figures if they made more they'd be fine. Her husband is having his wages garnished by the IRS because he hasn't paid taxes in 7 years and filed in as many. They are being audited.

Another friend Mrs K also works part-time is being audited because her husband handles all the money and she too has no idea what it's being spent on.

I have many, many more friends both working full and part-time, and non working moms, NONE of which have any clue how they are spending their money. They have no idea what their mortgage is, but they know what daycare costs. They have no idea if they have a retirement account or how much they are saving.

I found it incredible that all these well educated women have completely handed over control of the finances to their partners/spouses. They have no clue if these people are being at all responsible. They have no idea what they have saved for retirement if anything. They just assume whatever financial decisions are being made are the right ones.

Granted the two under audit have realized that something is not right, but still. Does it take getting audited for someone to get concerned? And when I said perhaps they should take over the finances the response was "it's too much work and it was a mistake."

Really? I know that people of both genders here on SA are more concerned and aware of finances than the general population. But I can't wrap my head around women just having no idea about their finances period. And literally they aren't even worried or concerned that they could be eating cat food when they get older or are in debt, or not paying taxes.

My DH and I are both aware of our finances. He's not as detail oriented, but he knows the gist and well aware of our spending habits and our savings plan. He knows roughly what we spend and doesn't care for those details. We make joint decisions and I'm well aware of ALL accounts and track them. I know it's a bit obsessive, but why don't more people care?

7 Responses to “No clue about finances?”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I track all of our accounts too and I always have. I have never made much money, (top year was $8000) but I have always kept track of it.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    LAL you always have the most interesting stories....I used to read that women were more often the money managers in couples relationships. I don't know, sometimes it does seem that nobody is the money manager. I think old age poverty is going to be psychologically harder on people who have been big-spenders during their work life.

  3. VS_ozgirl Says:

    So many people find it boring. My husband is one of those people, his eyes glaze over if you talk too long about it. They think they can spend like a celebrity but somewhere along the way is a big wake-up call with their name on it! To me taking control of your finances is to take control of your lifestyle choices.

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    That's funny because it seems like 90% of SAers are women.

    My partners only know about our finances because I force the information on them. Neither has any real interest or aptitude for it, though they've gotten more interested since it's become one of the main focuses of my life for the past 8+ years.

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    We are good money managers because we had to be. We were very poor when we got married (but had no debt) and every single penny counted. Then when all the medical debt hit us we had to be even more careful. It is not something that has gone away, really. I am in control of the finances, but I have periodic check-ins with DH and keep him informed of everything and he knows where to find a list of stuff on my computer if anything happens to me. The only thing he really handles is the 401K, but I keep track of the statements. I think a lot of people have their head in the clouds until something bad happens.

  6. laceshawl Says:

    I have had married friends like that who had a terrible shock when their husbands got sick or decided to leave them. They had real difficulty adjusting to live on a lesser income. I was talking only yesterday to one who could have bought a house with her settlement money, but decided to buy a brand new car, refused to do without cable etc. Now she tells me she is out of money and living on disability. It's very unwise to not take responsibility for finances, single or shared.

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