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Once upon a time in American marriages, the husband “brought home the bacon” and made all the big financial decisions, and the wife received a “household allowance” to buy groceries and other everyday necessities.

But, not in today’s fast-paced world! Not only have women entered the workforce in large numbers but they’ve risen to high-level positions in the business world. On average, women in dual-earner households earn around half the family’s income, and about one out of four married women earn more than their husbands.1

Despite the stereotype of men being threatened by successful women, men whose wives earn as much or more than they do actually report higher levels of happiness. But higher-earning wives are more stressed about money than higher-earning husbands or lower-earning wives, perhaps because they are trying to balance the “traditional” woman’s role while also carrying the financial load.2
Financial Bacon - Spending money
Here are some steps you and your spouse can take to forge a more successful financial partnership.

Create a budget. Only 32% of households have a budget to track monthly income and expenditures, and only 30% have a long-term saving and investment plan.3 Budget for your basic monthly expenses and include monthly payments/set-asides for other regular expenses, emergency savings, and retirement savings.

Prioritize discretionary spending. Once you have budgeted together for necessities and savings, each spouse should make a “wish list.” Compare lists and focus on areas of agreement.

Allow some personal freedom. Consider putting money into a joint account to pay regular expenses and keeping some discretionary funds in separate accounts that you can each use as you wish, up to a mutually agreeable limit. One study found that men would spend an average of $1,231 without discussing it with their wives, but women would only spend an average of $396 without discussing it with their husbands.4 Setting a limit in advance could help prevent conflict down the road.

Recognize individual strengths. If one partner is more comfortable putting money into financial vehicles and the other is more focused on paying bills, there’s nothing wrong with giving more responsibility to one person for certain aspects of your financial life. Just keep the other spouse in the loop.

Sources:
1–2) Money, June 2014
3) Gallup, 2013
4) Experian, 2014

Freeman Owen, Jr - Host of "Safe Money Talk" on CBS Radio The Big Talker 1580AM Money always matters because it affects your financial future. Start early with your retirement plans so that you never outlive your nest egg dollars. Let me help you do it right! Meet with me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office.

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