Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sheryl Sandberg Has No Interest in Money

How much money does it take before you lose interest in money? Maybe Sheryl Sandberg is there. In a cover story in Time Magazine this week, she and her husband Dave Goldberg show the world how she manages to have it all.

Sandberg urges women to negotiate shared household duties with their spouses early and often. “We have areas of responsibility. I do travel. I do anything electronic, computers, cars,” says Goldberg. “I do photos and videos. We share the child care 50-50. Although it’s not like we keep score.” And he does the finances. Since Facebook went public, his wife has cashed out about $90 million worth of shares, according to a schedule that was set before the IPO, and she still has almost 18 million shares left. But she demurs when asked how much she’s worth, claiming that that’s Goldberg’s area. “He manages our money,” she says. “I have essentially no interest.”,16641,20130318,00.html

I have been encouraging women to understand their marital finances and participate with their husband in sharing all financial information. But I’ll give Sandberg a pass. There comes a point when you know there’s so much more where that came from that she’s not in danger of ever running out.


Three Dangerous Words at Tax Time

It’s one month from tax time. If you’re like most wives I know, you’ll let your husband consult with the accountant. You have too many other things to do, and besides, you’re not interested in all those forms.

Big mistake, because your signature is required to file the joint income tax return. Your signature means you read it, understood it and agreed with the information.

I used to be like that. My husband would say ‘Sign here, Honey’ and I’d sign. I trusted him. I thought he knew more about finances than I did. Turns out, the whole thing wasn’t rocket science. You just have to learn how to read the columns.

Your husband isn’t necessarily trying to hide things from you by taking the responsibility for it. Someone has to do it.

So ask him to explain what the numbers mean. If an accountant is doing your taxes, attend the meeting with your husband. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your accountant can explain things that your husband often doesn’t understand himself. Your husband might be relieved that you’re finally taking an interest in your marital finances.

“Sign here Honey” may be three little words which can hurt you if you are ever divorced or widowed.

Trust, Husbands and Financial Advisors

A woman called into a talk show where the topic was marital fidelity.Saying she was done with men, the caller ended her commentary by asking “If you can’t trust the person who takes a marriage vow with you, whom can you trust?”

I thought about her question as it applies to two professions dealing with money- financial advice and accounting. No financial advisor takes a vow before taking us on as a client. We can’t check a track record because the names of clients are confidential. We have no way of knowing how well the advisor does in an economic downturn.

Bottom line, we’re working on trust – giving our money to a firm or individual whose caveat is that past performance is no indication of future results and counsels us on the risks of investment. The certificates on the office wall testify to completion of a course of study, not a grade for performance.

The same holds true for the accounting profession. Most accountants are good at what they do. But they depend on accurate input from us to help us with our tax return. The accountant signs the return based on trust that we’ve provided all the information we’re required to provide. If we’re filing a joint tax return and most of the financial information is handled by our husband because we don’t “do taxes”, we have to trust he has provided accurate information.

Trust is involved in a transaction with someone when we do not have full knowledge about them, their intent, and the things they are offering us. However, when it comes to marriage, which requires no study, no training and nothing but a vow, trust is used interchangeably with love. Unfortunately, love is not a course of study and no one gets a diploma in the subject.

Widowhood and Divorce Biggest Stressors

You may have suspected it. The SRRS confirms it.
Stress correlates directly and measurably with the chance of getting sick. 

Developed by Dr. Thomas Holmes at the University of Washington State Medical School, the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) assigns rankings to life changing events. Death of a spouse and divorce rank at the top of the list.

Combined with the other factors on the chart that are natural companions to widowhood, the combined score of a widow catapults off the charts.

Divorce typically doesn’t happen without warning.  Not so for widowhood. Within the space of a heartbeat, you can be widowed. A plane or car crash. A fall from a ladder. A boating or skiing accident. A heart attack. Your world turns upside down. Your social status changes; your family pressures increase. Financial pressures can push your nervous system beyond your ability to cope.

For the first time in your life, you may now be faced with financial decisions. Your husband may have wanted you to be involved in the marital finances, but you let him do it, saying you were too busy or not interested.

Perhaps you were married to an optimist who refused to face his mortality, who told you not to worry, that nothing would happen to him. You may have been worried sick (metaphors do apply here) about how you would cope on your own if something happened to your husband, but you never took any action to make sure you had the financial information you now need.

In short, you may be totally unaware of what you’re facing as you now have to manage things on your own.
Ultimately, the only thing you can control is to plan for the things you can’t control.  If you’re not familiar with the finances in your family, not just the household budget, but all the marital finances, get involved.

If I were your husband, and I loved you, I’d nag you to participate and understand the finances. After all the hard work we did, I’d hate to see you blow it all after I’m gone.

Control Freak or Financial Abuse?

I’ve written about this before, but women I know keep running into it. It bears repeating.

One of the earliest signs of future abusive behavior in marriage is financial control. A husband controls the purse strings, refusing to share financial information with his wife but expecting that she account for every choice and every penny spent.

Many wives suffer in silence, telling themselves that their husband?s controlling behavior is a personality quirk.They may still have access to joint finances, reasonable mobility and buying choices. They are frustrated by their husband?s attitude and behavior, but they don?t live with a gnawing sense of fear.

Financial abuse is different.

It is behavior designed to isolate a woman into a state of complete financial dependence. The most important thing to remember about financial abuse is that the abuser is not out of control. He can, at the drop of a hat, change his behavior to suit the social circumstances. He can be charming and persuasive, but his objective is to isolate his partner and make her dependence on him total.He is deliberately choosing to control his partner’s behavior by cutting off her access to money, mobility and choice.

Financial abuse can often lead to physical abuse as well. It happens within all age ranges, educational levels, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels. The rich socialite who lives in the largest house in the best neighborhood is as likely to be a victim of financial abuse as the poorest wife in the toughest section of town.

The thing to remember about financial abuse is that it often precedes emotional, verbal and ultimately physical abuse. Here are some signs to watch out for:

Controlling the finances.

Withholding money or credit cards.

Giving you an allowance.

Making you account for every penny you spend.

Stealing from you or taking your money.

Using your assets for his personal benefit.

Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).

Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.

Sabotaging your job (making you miss work or calling constantly, etc.)

If something about your relationship with your husband or partner scares you and you need to talk, you can get help by contacting the following:

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or go to

This website lists the numbers and locations of domestic violence hotlines for the 50 states.