Grace knew her husband was not going to react well to her filing for divorce even though he no longer wanted to be married. She did not guess however that he would cut her off from all their money. It was a hard lesson in self-accountability, one that Grace says all women should learn. Here’s Grace:
Please tell women, they have got to have at least one credit card in their name only, just so they have credit established, because it’s just so bad if you don’t have credit in your name only and you’re tied completely to your husband. Even if you do have a credit card in your own name, your spouse should still be able to look at the statement. There still has to be accountability. There was that debate a few months ago about checking your spouse’s email and I do believe in privacy, but I think also that if it’s a good marriage, you have nothing to hide, why wouldn’t I allow you to look at my email? Does that make sense?
I let my husband control the money. I didn’t know where anything was, and no statements came to the house. I was so, so stupid to trust him that completely, and I know you want to trust your spouse, but doggarnit.
Looking back I think,
“How could you be so stupid to not keep an eye on things?”
My logic at the time was that I was not a math person, numbers just baffle me. He sold a business for millions of dollars. This man’s a genius with numbers, he can handle the finances better than I can. Who am I to even question because he turned a company from nothing to multi-millions in five years? Who am I to say,
“I’m going to have a hand in those finances?”
That was not a good move, but you learn the hard way, right?
I did pay all the household bills and balanced the checkbook, so it’s not like I didn’t do anything, didn’t know anything, but I’ve had to learn about my investments and keeping an eye on things. I didn’t learn how to manage my investments but I learned how to interview investment people and find somebody who was right for me, somebody I can depend on and trust. I guess it’s not that I had to learn so much, it’s that I had to learn that I had to be responsible.
I’ve learned you just don’t ever delegate your power to another, even a spouse who you think you trust totally. You keep track of things yourself because a spouse could die, and if he dies and you don’t know how to write a check or you don’t know how to pay the light bill or you don’t know how to log on to the bill pay service to pay the water bill, then what are you going to do? Call the water company and plead your case with them?
Life’s easier if you just take the time to do things right in the beginning.
The Divorce Coach Says
I’m a hundred percent behind Grace on this. Even with joint accounts, each spouse should maintain his/her own credit card and bank account and there has to be common knowledge about the household accounts and investments. Too many people are left blindsided when a marriage ends, either through divorce or death with not knowing about the complete financial picture or not knowing how to handle their money:
- Lorraine’s husband had a degree in finance and she was happy to leave it all up to him – she didn’t even know how to write a check when he walked out.
- Sue had always had trouble matching her spending to her income – during college her parents helped her out, then her husband helped her. When her marriage ended, there was no one to bail her out and she ended up filing for bankruptcy. Since her divorce she’s transformed her relationship with money – listen to her story in Part 1 and Part 2.
- Maryan’s husband had always handled their investments telling her she wouldn’t get it. After their divorce, she had to learn about investing. She was amazed that she got it and before long she had a new career as an investment advisor.
I’ve been watching the Bachlorette with my daughter and finally the other night I wondered out loud why the producers never show any meaningful conversations. Each week we witness fun dates in romantic, breathtaking scenery and snippets of dinner conversations about respective feelings, see the kisses and cuddles, the smiles and tears but I have yet to hear a meaningful conversation about married life – children, religion, careers, money, lifestyle etc.
I keep wondering what they do in between the dates – does Ashley have a dating coach advising her so she doesn’t succumb to the fairy tale that’s being constructed? Does she go back to her room and pull out a book like Karen Salmonsohn’s Prince Harming Syndrome , which I really liked, BTW? Or is it to the gym to workout and then wardrobe to pick out the next gorgeous outfit?
My daughter told me that what I wanted to see was not what the show is about, that’s not what reality TV is about. She’s probably right but this reality TV is not reality. It’s just more fluff to perpetuate the fairy tales and princesses …
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