It’s a fact of life. People get divorced. In fact, according to the CDC more than three per 1,000 marriages end in divorce. But many women are not prepared for divorce, sending them into a financial tailspin. All of a sudden you go from being in a two-income household to having to live on one income.
It’s not that you need to go into marriage planning for divorce, but women need to make wise financial choices, says lifestyle plan strategist Miriam Nicole Huffman, an attorney, relationship finance specialist and creator of the workshop “Why You Need More Than A Mrs.”
One major mistake married couples make is not talking about money. “Lack of open communication is the most dangerous mistake made by married couples,” says Huffman. According to her, some examples of a lack of communication include:
• Lack of disclosure and knowledge about where the family stands financially.
• Lack of disclosure and knowledge about spouse’s income, assets and debts.
• Not being equal partners in the management of the family’s finances.
• Failure to disclose the true state of personal income, assets and debts.
• Failure to engage in some type of income producing activity.
Women should be prepared for various financial disasters when married, says Huffman. “You should prepare yourself for the possible loss of income due to your spouse being discharged from employment, unable to work due to disability, going through a divorce, or preceding you in death,” she explains. “You should prepare yourself by engaging in some form of income producing activity that will give you a better chance at quickly providing for yourself and/or your family in the event you lose your spouse’s income. Furthermore, you should be prepared by knowing what is going on with your family’s finances. You should find out this information by any legal means at your disposal.”
There are other financial surprises married women should be prepared for as well. “Women should prepare themselves for the effect of separate pre-marital debts of the couple post-marriage. For example, if your spouse has an unpaid child support obligation and you file a joint tax return, your joint tax refund may be used to pay your spouse’s debt,” Huffman explains.
Money Management Tips For Married Women
• Be In The Loop. You should know the financial state of your household…the bills, savings and insurance info, etc. “Be an active participant in the family’s finances– even if you are not currently producing income,” explains Huffman.
• Have a spending and savings plan. “Base your spending strictly off the income of the lower wage earner and your savings off the income of the higher wage earner,” advises Huffman.
• Talk money. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject with your mate. It is a necessary conversation. “Have regular, honest and open communication about the household’s assets and income,” says Huffman.