Women & Money: When ‘Mine’ Becomes ‘His & Hers’

Savvy money management skills are a necessity to weather these tough economic times. BlackEnterprise.com has got you covered with our supplement to the magazine’s three-part “Women & Money” series.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll have money management tips and strategies from Harrine Freeman, CEO and owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit counseling service.

BlackEnterprise.com: How do you transition from being a single woman who is used to being the sole earner and money manager, to a wife who has to think in terms of a partnership when it comes to how money is used in the household?

Harrine Freeman: You can transition to thinking in terms of a partnership as having two people who have the same interests. A partnership means having a joint interest or someone whose character includes sharing with another. If you are struggling with changing your thinking from “me” to “we” examine yourself and identify areas where you act in a selfish manner. Work to change your thinking from singular to plural. Practice everyday in the mirror, if necessary, to start saying “we” need to do this or “We need to do that.”

You have to marry someone who is financially responsible. One of the No. 1 reasons for divorce is due to finances. Both spouses have to be financially responsible: Know how to pay the bills, be aware of the balances on all accounts. Know where the bills, receipts, and financial paperwork are stored; Know the due date for all bills whether you actually send the payments for the bills or not, and keep accurate reporting of spending. Limit use of ATM and check cards, pay cash for most items purchased, and be honest about your spending. Discuss how you can modify your budget to accommodate if item bought was not included in your budget.

When considering making a large purchase, consult your spouse first.  Don’t make purchases to get even with your spouse. It will backfire on you later. It is better to include your spouse in all financial decisions than to get into an argument later because you did not.

Don’t take the “I make more so I can buy whatever I want” attitude. This is very harmful to marriages. Marriages should be an equal partnership no matter who makes the most money. Never use money or the lack thereof to start an argument. Eliminate all negative thoughts and attitudes regarding money. Consult a financial coach or personal finance expert to help work through any issues regarding your finances.

Reading Resources:

Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach
The Motley Fools’ Guide to Couples and Cash by Dayana Yochim
First Comes Love, Then Comes Money by Roger Gibson