Women Would Rather Talk About Their Sex Life Than Their Finances

By Guest Blogger Sandra Finkelstein


I was brought up to believe you never spend more than you have (ok dipping into my dad’s wallet sometimes helped!).  I learned to save and make pretty good choices all things considered. Then I met my husband and from the time we started dating until the time we divorced, I allowed myself to make decisions that were NOT in the best interest of myself, nor my family.

Divorce is an eye opener for many women, for you get to see what you really are worth dollar wise $$$! You are required to put together your financial statements in order to do equalization.  I always laughed and told my friends, the only person who truly knows a person’s worth are their lawyer and their accountant.  Many people appear to be financially sound but aren’t.

My work is about empowerment and one of the drives has been my divorce. I needed to take back my power AND learn to be accountable and responsible for my choices. I could no longer blame anyone else for bad choices.  Through my work I became aware that many women are financially unaware of their situation – Why? Many women choose to hand off their finances to their husband and/or significant others, accountants, financial planners or just have no interest.  For some it is cultural: the man overseas the finances.  For many it is the lack of education, understanding and awareness. One thing is for certain: talking about one’s personal finances is still taboo. Many women are more comfortable talking about their sex life, than about their financial life. This can be dangerous.

In my research it became apparent that some women do in fact want to know more but are afraid to ask “stupid” questions and when they do, they are given an answer in financial jargon.  I saw a need and thus began a financial empowerment section of my website, which is aimed at breaking things down to the simple. In fact my inspiration came from the movie, Confessions of A Shopaholic – I don’t know if you remember the “the girl with the green scarf” – she wanted to be a writer for a fashion magazine and took a job with a financial magazine and began to write under a pseudo name and relate finances to shopping.

It was brilliant. Most women can relate to shopping. So I expanded the idea and I put together a talk where I liken the organizing of your finances to that of your closet.  Some of you love your closet- you take it apart two or three times a year, go through the clothes and see what you want to keep, what you want to get rid of, how you want to organize it, while others struggle with their closet- they cannot find anything (ok every women I know looks in their closet at one point and says, “I have nothing to wear!”), it’s a mess and things are strewn everywhere.

I had the chance to sit with nine women ranging from late-40s to mid-60s and we had “a round-table discussion on financial awareness and empowerment.”  I did an exercise using two identical mock closets and asked the women to organize the space using the same items. The results were fascinating. While there were some similarities, there were definite differences. After some discussion, I shared the point of the exercise– to show we are all unique and no two closets will ever look the same. A woman with young children has different needs than the mother working full-time. This truth is the same for your finances. Depending on what stage you are in your life, a person will have different needs and wants: Pay off mortgage, pay for university, child getting married, bar mitzvah, camp, extra curricular activities, aging parent, just to name a few!

The discussion brought out some very good suggestions and I want to share them with you:

  1. It’s not about trust or love – both parties need to be FULLY aware of their finances at all times, especially in case something happens to the other.
  2. Create a binder with all of the pertinent information and contact names: executor of will, lawyer, accountant, banking info, etc. and have your safety deposit key taped to the inside of the binder. If something happens to both of you, your children or key person will have all of the information.
  3. Be aware of your aging parents’ finances – does it impact you?
  4. All women need a credit card in their name to build their credit rating. Even if your husband pays for “everything,” put a few charges on a month, and pay it off in full if possible, and ON TIME. You never know what life has in store for you, and if you will one day have to stand on your own two financial feet. Lay the seeds early.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ASK MANY QUESTIONS. This may involve bringing some skeletons out of the closet, but better to know each and every one, than to wake up one day and find yourself in a mess you had no idea was there.

As taste and style changes, so will your financial needs and how you organize your “financial closet.”  Start today.  It is time to take back your power and become aware… your closet demands it!

All my best,

Sandra Finkelstein

I’d love to know, are you aware of your financial situation? Does your husband take care of the finances, or do you do it together? Have you learned anything over the years that you can share with our readers? Are you sitting on the fence when it comes to diving into your own personal finances or have you been afraid?

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Sandra Finkelstein is the mother of two boys aged 8 and 10 years old. They have been her inspiration to become empowered: find and speak her voice. She is an advocate for empowerment and awareness, walking your talk, accountability and responsibility. Her work focuses on women and financial empowerment, a youth movement: Voices of Youth and challenging the corporate culture.

She is the CEO and founder of www.2bempowered.com and www.VoicesOfYouth.ca.

xoxEDxox

24 Comments
  1. Interesting post. My husband takes care of all the finances (thankfully) and I am a SAHM but after reading this it kind of makes me realize I don’t know enough. I don’t have my own credit card. I have a credit card with my name on it but my husband pays the bill.

    1. At least the credit card is in your name – not a supplementary card??!! If this is the case then you are building your credit rating by virtue of paying off this card each month. Just make sure that it is paid on time and in full.

      As I said, being aware is more for the sake of “what if something happens to my husband? or the both of us? Being prepared and aware is smart for so many reasons. That is why I love the binder idea. That was not my idea it was given to me by one of the woman in that group. I am just passing it on!

  2. I learned the hard way after 17 years of marriage and ended up divorced and broke having to get a job and reinvent myself. Women everywhere need to know what is up with their financial situation. Nothing in life is permanent.

    1. I am glad to hear that you are finding yourself – who you are. I realize that this may not have been the path you would have chosen for this learning. Being aware is something that is important even in the best of marriages. Going through a divorce forces us to be aware — and you are correct when you say that nothing is permanent – especially from an energetic point of view.

  3. I am fully aware of my financial situation and that’s how I like it. My husband and i make joint decisions when it comes to investments and money. I know what my husband has in his account, his life insurance and all of it. I work and contribute as well so it works both ways. This is how I’m most comfortable. It has been this way for 17 years. I think all women need to know where they stand financially just in case.

    1. Dear Lori, thank you for your words of wisdom. I also really appreciate that you state that “this is how I’m most comfortable”. I have learned through some hard lessons that not imposing your view on others is important however I do feel that sharing gives women potentially another option.

      Thank you again.

  4. Sandra, you caught my attention w/ the “Shopaholic” analogy. I loved that book (& the movie was pretty good, too)! I have found myself in a very frustrating situation w/ our finances. When I was single, I balanced my checkbook & paid off my CC monthly, was very careful & involved. Then I got married, had 2 kids & gave up working full-time. I did hand off the finances to my husband since he works in finance and sits at a desk all day & can do our banking online. Except it was a shock to find out we have some very different approaches to debt, saving, etc. And now we own a home & have more expenses than ever. It really does feel overwhelming at times. I want to learn more & take control, but with 2 small kids I just don’t have the time or know where to start.

    1. Having small children I totally understand. I am sure the last thing that you want to do is read financial statements HOWEVER this is important.

      If there is a topic that many couples fight about it is finances. That does not mean that one approach is better than another. Saying that it is important that you understand where each person is coming from – it will go back to your belief systems that were handed to you likely from your family/parents (ie. money does not grow on trees, money is evil, etc.). Your partner may have a pattern which he has been carrying for years. In order to make suggestions it will help if I know what country you are in – Canada?? The laws differ from country to country.

      I like to break things down to babysteps. Start with understanding where your money is – mortgage, rrsp, resp, life insurance, etc. As with your closet you must know where you are starting from to know where you want to go. How much each month is being contributed to each – almost like creating a budget however for awareness purposes. If you have a planner I suggest that you both sit down and determine if your money is being invested/spent in the best way for your needs. Your financial closet has to fit your needs – young family, small children and many expenses.

      On my site, http://www.2bempowered.com – financial empowerment blog I have a number of blogs that make some really good recommendations. I also deal with other financial planners who share their knowledge.

      Some questions to consider – do you have a will in place? Who is your executor for finances and health? If something happens to both of you who will take the children? Do you BOTH have life insurance. Being a stay at home mom does not mean that you have no value – you DO. Term insurance is a great and inexpensive way to cover yourself. Do not undervalue your worth.

      I hope this helps … let me know if you have more questions.

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  5. I agree with this post. Financial is the very important for the couples survive in everyday lives, especially when they have children already, they need to send their children to school. Sex would be interesting if a couple has nor problem at all when it comes to financial needs. by the way, thanks for the wonderful post. I appreciate it very much. more power and godbless

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