Talking Money With Your Spouse – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

It seems that my column titled “Honey, We Need to Talk About Money” struck a chord. A typical response: “You certainly could have been talking about my wife and me,” writes reader Del Richter. 

As I wrote in January, when it comes to finances, women often suffer from an eyes-glaze-over syndrome that can be attributed to a number of reasons—lack of time, interest or confidence, to cite a few. Fortunately, Richter and others have come up with successful strategies to overcome a spouse’s resistance. 

As he approached retirement, Richter launched what he calls “a multi-pronged underground campaign” to pique his wife’s interest. First he said, “Honey, you know when I retire there won’t be a paycheck coming in anymore, so we really need a forward-looking budget to see if we can continue this lifestyle.” 

Next, he convinced his wife, Dena, that they needed to tackle updating their wills. “She realized our assets had grown substantially, and we had to address how we wanted them to be disbursed to children, grandchildren and charitable causes.” (My observation: By taking things one step at a time, the Richters made the process manageable rather than overwhelming.) 

The time factor is critical, says reader Coco Yackley. “Many of my women friends resist getting involved in finances not because they lack interest but because they lack the time and mental space to do so.” Yackley’s suggestion: “Have their husbands take over some household chores so they can prepare the paperwork for taxes or attend a class on financial planning.” 

Dan Williamson says hiring a financial adviser helped ease his wife’s concerns about the future. But he worries that his three 40-something daughters, two of whom are single mothers, don’t have time to focus on finance. (My advice: Dad could take them to see his financial adviser or, as Yackley suggests, offer to babysit the grandchildren while his daughters take a financial class or seminar.)

The Power of Sharing

Amy Breiting found that a simple step like sharing passwords made a big difference. “My husband is recovering from heart surgery, and we hadn’t shared passwords,” writes Breiting. “Now I promote sharing them with someone you trust.”

Breiting has always made it a point to accompany her husband to appointments with their financial adviser, and she felt comfortable calling on him when her husband fell ill.  

Outside help that they seek as a couple has been a boon to other couples as well. Richter’s “third prong of attack” was to have his wife participate in the year-end review with their financial adviser. “The adviser would ask my wife pointed questions like ‘What are your …….


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