It matters that women aren’t comfortable talking about money, because women must be as easily conversant and readily knowledgeable in financial matters as men are. If they are not, they are more likely to be taken advantage of –in divorce, and in many other areas, as well.
If you are someone who needs to increase your comfort level for discussing money, try these tips:
Take yourself to school: There are many excellent resources for women who want to learn more about their finances. If the topic makes you anxious, hit the books. Knowledge is power –and it is time to claim it yourself, instead of leaving it to others.
Information is available for every level of investing, real estate, debt management, taxes, and of course, securing your financial future before, during, and after divorce. Choose reputable sources, and avoid sales pitches disguised as general information. Women should feel empowered, not overwhelmed by finances.
Subscribe to a financial magazine: Even if learning about personal finance isn’t tops on your ‘to-do’ list, read a financial magazine to broaden your horizons. There are financial aspects of all current events and trendy topics, and these angles can be interesting in ways you didn’t think possible.
Practice talking about money: Despite what you may have been raised to believe, talking about money isn’t necessarily rude. You don’t have to divulge information you would prefer to keep private, and you don’t have to fish for details of your friends’ financial lives. Just begin to include financial topics in your conversation. Financial matters are part of our lives. It needn’t be awkward to discuss them, and you can do it without sharing personal details socially.
Commit to improvement, but don’t expect to become an expert overnight: There is plenty to learn about managing money over a lifetime, and you won’t know it all tomorrow. Whether you are embarrassed at what you don’t know, or simply have an ingrained reticence when it comes to discussing financial matters, you need to make changes over time.
Talking openly about finances with your husband, preferably before you are married, is an excellent way to strengthen your relationship. Share your short- and long-term goals, discuss investment risks, and find strategies to meet those goals together. In other words, lay a foundation for mutually respectful give-and-take. That way, you will always play a role in decisions, and your knowledge will continue to grow as your financial circumstances evolve.
Being comfortable talking about money is an important part of being prepared to handle your financial life as a single women, or holding up your end as part of a partnership. The sooner you can do it, the better.