It seems my column titled “Honey, We Need to Talk About Money” struck a chord. A typical response: “You certainly could have talked about my wife and me,” writes reader Del Richter.
As I wrote in January, when it comes to finances, women often suffer from glassy eye syndrome which can be attributed to a number of reasons – lack of time, interest or confidence, just to name a few. Fortunately, Richter and others have developed effective strategies for overcoming a spouse’s resistance.
As retirement approached, Richter launched what he called “a multi-pronged clandestine campaign” to pique his wife’s interest. He first said, “Honey, you know when I retire there won’t be a paycheck, so we really need a forward budget to see if we can continue this lifestyle. .
Then he convinced his wife, Dena, that they needed to tackle updating their wills. “She realized our assets had grown significantly and we needed to figure out how we wanted them to go 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 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: “Ask their husbands to take over some household chores so they can prepare tax paperwork or attend a class on financial planning.”
Dan Williamson says hiring a financial adviser helped ease his wife’s worries about the future. But he worries his three 40-something daughters, two of whom are single mothers, won’t have time to focus on finances. (My advice: Dad could take them to see his financial advisor or, as Yackley suggests, offer to babysit the grandkids while his daughters take a finance class or seminar.)
The power of sharing
Amy Breiting discovered that a simple step like sharing passwords made a big difference. “My husband is recovering from heart surgery and we hadn’t shared passwords,” Breiting writes. “Now I advocate sharing them with someone you trust.”
Breiting always made it a point to accompany her husband to appointments with their financial advisor, and she felt comfortable calling on him when her husband fell ill.
The outside help they seek as a couple has also been a boon to other couples. Richter’s “third part of the attack” was to have his wife participate in the year-end review with their financial advisor. “The counselor would ask my wife pointed questions like, ‘What are your concerns about the plan we’re discussing?’ and ‘Is there anything you don’t understand or don’t want to change?’ ”
After managing the family finances for the first half of their nearly 40-year marriage, Sandy V. encouraged his wife, Ellie, to hire a financial advisor so she would feel comfortable taking the reins in the event. of deceased. She interviewed two advisors, chose them both to manage different asset pools and now meets with them at least once a year.
Some women just need a little encouragement to go it alone. “I couldn’t get my wife, Mary Beth, interested in our investment accounts, which she considered mine,” writes Randy Johnson. “So I set up an account for her and walked her through the buying and selling process. Now, four years later, she has a portfolio of 28 stocks. She usually outperforms my accounts.