Money and What Every Woman Should Know

In a relationship, one partner typically has control over the finances. Men are nearly three times more likely than women to have that control, but women typically live longer than their male partners.

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by Tax Credits

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by Tax Credits

This discrepancy can, in some cases, end up causing serious financial stress for families. It is important for both partners to be prepared to handle the finances on their own if something should happen to their significant other.

In honor of Women’s History Month, here are 8 things every woman should know about her finances (no matter who controls the checkbook!):

1. What do you have, where is it, and how do you access it?

Keep track of account numbers, passwords, and contact information for all checking, saving, and investment accounts.

 2. How much debt do you have?

Keep updated records of your family’s debt situation. Pull your credit reports for FREE at least once a year to ensure the information is accurate. If there is a mistake on your credit report, you can fix it yourself.  Don’t know how to access your credit report? It’s easy (Yes, YOU Can Get A FREE Credit Report (Really!))!
 
Also consider what debt you will be accountable for in the result of a divorce or death. Debt that you took on as a couple after you married will be in both names and you will be responsible for the payments.

3. Where are your personal documents?

Keep your birth certificates, social security cards, passports, marriage certificate, mortgage documents and other papers in a secure location. Make sure you have the key or code to where they are located.

4. How much are you earning, spending, saving, investing, and giving each year?

Do you have a 3-6 month emergency fund? If something happened, would you be able to meet your monthly expenses or do you live paycheck to paycheck? Figure out where budget cuts are possible before you are forced to make them.

5. How much risk are you taking with investments? When can you access them?

Accessing investment accounts early can have serious tax implications. Consult a tax professional before making any withdrawals from these accounts if you should need the funds earlier than expected.

6. Are you protected with wills, power of attorney, and insurance?

Look into drafting a will and designating power of attorney to help relieve your loved ones of difficult decisions in case of your death or incapacitation. Communicate your decisions to relevant parties to ensure that your wishes as a family can be fulfilled. Assess your health, auto, homeowner’s, and life insurance policies regularly.

7. Can your family survive on one income?

If your household income was reduced tomorrow, could you make ends meet? If you do not currently work, are you able to seek employment if necessary? If additional income is not a possibility, can you reduce your expenses? What assistance do you qualify for?

8. Where will you go for help if you need it?

Keep the contact information for your attorneys, tax professionals, doctors, and counselors handy. Do not hesitate to get in touch with Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service. We provide low-cost budget counseling, education, and debt management.
 

If you have questions about this topic (or any other!) and would like to talk to a Certified Credit Counselor, please contact Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service at 888-258-2227 or cccs@LssSD.org

Together we can make a difference. Make a financial gift to LSS today.

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