Empowering Women to Share the Mental Load of Financial Planning
Women have a lot on their plate when it comes to largely being the ones that manage a household. I’m sure you have heard the buzz phrase “mental load” a lot lately. It references the mental burden women carry that extends beyond simply having to do the physical chores. Things like mentally tracking the kids’ last bath, minding how much peanut butter is left in the jar, or planning the kids’ outfits for picture day.
I don’t have any commentary to add on that topic aside from the fact that it is very real.
I’m going to talk about the other end of the spectrum – an area I see women not managing well.
Sharing the mental load of financial planning with their husbands.
Husbands often come to our office and say something about how their wives simply aren’t that interested in the topic or that their wives just trust them to handle it. My opinion? 95% of the time, that’s untrue. It likely one of two things.
- Women don’t have the mental capacity to take on yet another task.
- Women feel this isn’t their area of expertise, and therefore they bring no value to the conversation.
I understand – I really do.
As a wife and mom of two, there are always a million things on my mind. Sometimes the idea of having to think about one more thing makes me shudder. Finances might seem like the one thing you can safely offload onto your husband’s plate. Therefore, it is easier if its just not on your radar at all. You fear that if you did involve yourself, it too, would become your burden.
This leaves your husbands to do the planning on their own. They are left to make the decisions that will determine the future wealth of your family. Your ability to live the life you have always dreamed, fund your children’s college costs, and leave a legacy will not happen by chance. They happen by a series of choices. And you have removed yourself from impacting those choices.
Here’s the thing. Those same husbands would really love to have their wives’ input. While there are some bad characters out there who withhold financial power from their wives (aka financial abuse), the majority of my clients are good men who would love to have their life partner be involved in planning for their financial future.
They would love to know your thoughts on how long you might like to work.
They would love to understand how the recent drop or gain in your portfolio made you feel.
They would love to hear your vision for your shared life.
My husband and I love talking about the future. We’re both on the finance-nerd side, so we certainly get caught up in the weeds sometimes. I also know that if we did not work together, those conversations would never happen. When you are in the throws of raising a family, there is NO TIME FOR THOSE CONVERSATIONS TO BE HAD. By the time you get kids to bed and the house cleaned up, you have 30 minutes before you go to bed yourself. And, do you really want to spend those minutes having mentally taxing conversations??
There lies the benefit of your financial advisor.
You have scheduled meetings that you can plan ahead for (maybe even during the hours the kids are in school), and you get to sit at a table in blissful silence with your partner. No kids around. A good financial advisor will create an environment where you are comfortable hashing out your ideas and concerns together.
Better yet – you take an extra hour off of work together and get lunch after your meeting <3
Ladies, if you don’t feel welcomed or valued at your financial planner’s office, then it’s not the office for you. Read this for more thoughts on that.
I just really want to challenge the women reading this to take ownership over their financial lives. Don’t leave your future in someone else’s hands. Yes, trust your husband but also help carry his mental load here. From my experience, once communication in one area of your relationship starts to improve, it starts to trickle into other areas. Your own mental load can be shared too.
P.S. – Do you want to know of a husband who actually shares his wife’s mental load? His name is William Hinks – Operations Specialist at Hixon Zuercher Capital Management. And if you asked him right now – I really do think he could tell you how much peanut butter is in the jar. Planning the kids’ outfits for picture day though… well, he’s not perfect.😉