Monthly Archives: July 2014

Financial Vulnerability in Marriage

It’s counterintuitive to think about divorce when you marry. Few women do. Without thinking of the consequences of letting our husband manage our money, we set ourselves up for financial vulnerability. We trust him to be making financial choices that will benefit us both.

Sometimes he does.  Sometimes he doesn’t.  Most of the time, he’s not thinking of his future without us.

Money is never about money. It’s about what we fear and what we want, what we learned from our family, and how comfortable we feel discussing a touchy subject with our mate. It’s about power and leverage – who has it, how is it used, who is affected by it. It’s about the working dynamics of a relationship. A marriage can’t function without  the ability to talk about money.

Unfortunately, if we’re not participating in the marital finances, we don’t find out how vulnerable we are until a crisis of widowhood or divorce changes our life.  Not being able to talk about money comfortably, either before or during marriage, makes women financially vulnerable and resentful.

Here are six questions to answer for yourself before you’re slammed with a crisis:

Am I participating in financial decisions with my husband?

Do I understand our marital finances?

What do I need financially to feel secure?

How would I manage if I were widowed or divorced?

Do I sign documents without understanding them?

Do I know the location of all our financial records?

There are many more questions and answers in my book. The information can help make you financially intimate and feeling safe.

Living in Denial

Last week,  an ordinary day turned into an extraordinary one when a commercial airliner, carrying 298 people on holiday, business and family reunions, was hit by a missile and crashed in a field of sunflowers, killing everyone on board.

Extraordinary events happen daily to millions of us doing familiar things in environments where our illusion of safety temporarily masks our anxiety about unpredictability. A family picnics under a tree; the tree falls. A man drinks coffee at Starbucks; a car plows through the window and kills him. A family sleeps on the 18th floor in their high rise condo; a crane towering above them for another high rise topples on them.

Random events abound, senseless, following no pattern and completely unpredictable. They exist as possibility until they happen. That’s the point; they’re random.

Here in California, we live in earthquake country. Will there be a BIG one someday? Sure. Maybe even in my lifetime. When it comes, it won’t be a random event. It will be part of the tapestry of geology. We can’t predict when, but we won’t be surprised.

Astronomers tell us we live in an orderly universe. Mathematicians predict sequences and probabilities. We can chart the possibility of our plane going down, but being shot out of the sky? Not even on the charts.

Perhaps all we can know for sure, and maybe not even that, is that when we breathe in, we can breathe out. So enjoying every moment may be the only protection we have against a random universe. Living in denial helps too.