Who is in Charge of the Finances at Home?

Husband is in Control

For many generations, the man of the house was the sole or main breadwinner, and thus had the discretion to control the finances at home.  The wife, who was generally the homemaker, handled the household accounts. She did not have any involvement with the family investments, savings or other aspects of the financial situation.  This was also the responsibility of the husband, who thought that they knew better.  This, however, is changing.

In today’s society, women are taking a more proactive role in the home, in many cases being the primary earner, or at least a partner in contributing to the household income.  With this shift, women are more directly and personally involved in handling the finances of the home, including having a say in investments, savings, and daily expenses.  In many cases, women are actually better with money than men.  What has been seen in recent years is that while women are earning significantly less than their male counterparts, they are actually better at investing, saving and preparing for the future.

Changes Taking Place

There are several reasons why this appears to be the case, and some of them may surprise you.

With men having more power in the workplace, women are seemingly more calculated and make more insightful decisions.  This means that they will evaluate investments or other financial decisions in a more detailed manner than their male counterparts.  Men have a tendency to be more impulsive and overestimate their ability to control the future, which can cause them to make poor decisions.

Women are not afraid to ask for help when needed.  They are more likely to seek advice from financial advisers prior to making investments, which allows for better, more secure decisions.  They also have a tendency to buy and sell shares less often.  Thus they save on fees and commissions, building stronger portfolios.

Moms in Control

In households with children, when the mother is in control of the finances, the children are more aware of it.  Unfortunately, in many cases parents tend to talk with girls about money differently and less often than with boys.  This can ultimately give children a skewed sense of parental responsibility, even if both parents are employed or run businesses.  Moms managing the money can actually serve as role models for their children of either gender.

Even if they were not involved the whole time, at some point the woman will have to take financial responsibility no matter what.  This can be due to death, divorce, or illness.  In many cases, the husband has full control and the wife has to suddenly find their way through the bank accounts, or ways of getting access if their husband took care of everything.

Regardless of who is handling the majority of the household finances, this doesn’t mean that it is a dictatorship.  Both parties should sit down every so often to let the other spouse know where everything is, how it is invested, passwords for the accounts, and to determine where changes in investments should be made, if any.  This is a good way to prevent either partner from having 100% control of the finances.

  • Elizabeth

    Very important! Women used to find themselves in the dark regarding the financial health of the family/household due to a variety of reasons. Thus necessitating going to their adult children, friends etc.
    By handling as described above, this can all be prevented thereby having the female feel confident about assuming financial responsibility etc. vs feeling overwhelmed.
    Great message!


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