3 Reasons To Share Financial Information With Your
http://w w w .consumerledger.com/family-finances/share-financial-information-w ith-spouse-reasons/ April 5, 2012
A March 29, 2012 article at LearnVest titled My Husband
Can’t Even Log Into Our Bank Account! discusses financial
makeovers, but it made me consider just how many of my own
clients don’t share their financial information with a spouse.
Take, for example, the bankruptcy client who has no clue as to
how much her husband makes – or how he’s spending his
money each month.
Or the recently-widowed husband with two young children
standing in the hospital wondering how to access the bank
account information online so the mortgage gets paid.
It’s not uncommon. In fact, after having practiced bankruptcy law form 16 years I’ve been struck by
just how often it’s the rule of the household – what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours. In the end,
this hurts both you and your spouse.
You Can’t Balance The Books Without All The Numbers
You’ve got to pay the bills each month. Groceries must be purchased, clothing as well. The lights
have to stay on. To make that happen, you want to have some sort of budget – if not a formal one,
at least a “back of napkin” approach that so many of us use to get by.
In order to have a budget, you need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. But if you don’t
know what your spouse is bringing in then how can you do that? You can’t.
You and your spouse should both have an allowance, some money you can do with as you see fit.
But without knowing the full story you’re robbing yourself of your ability to balance your books each
You Can’t Help One Another
Let’s say your spouse has a huge credit card bill. If you’re sitting on a decent savings account
balance, you could help – even if you’re going to insist on getting it back over time. I get that you
think, “he got himself into this, why should I bail him out?” but consider the fact that you are a single
economy unit, like it or not. If there’s less money in the total household, you can’t do as much.
Let’s say your wife usually contributes $500 a month to the house for overhead, reserving the
remainder for herself. If she gets into trouble financially, she may not be able to give $500 next
month. That means you’re either going out of pocket or someone’s not getting paid. Neither of
these are attractive options.
In Case Of Emergency
If your spouse is incapacitated or worse, you’re going to need access to his or her financial life.
Bills to be paid, estates to settle, things like that. Why add to the heartache and confusion
So do yourself a favor: let your spouse into your financial world. It doesn’t need to translate into a
loss of autonomy, it’s just good financial sense.
Image credit: The Facey Family