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  • How our partner can influence our views and attitudes about money

    Are you married to your own financial glass ceiling?

    Last Updated: 1 January 2003

    For better or worse, our partner is likely to influence our views and attitudes towards money.

    According to recent data for the Financially Fearless ‘Why Women invest’ report, one in four women say their partner is their biggest financial influence. Which then rises to more than one in three women who are married or living with their partner.

    The question is whether this makes us richer or poorer – and what it does to the health of our finances.

    In this article we explore this in further detail, but it is not personal financial advice. If you’re not sure if a course of action is right for you, ask for financial advice.

    For better

    We asked women why their partner had such an influence on their approach to money. Some said their partner was an expert. A knowledgeable partner, who is happy to discuss investments, can help you build your own expertise and make better decisions, which is a massive benefit. Over a fifth of women savers and investors (22%) said a friend or family member encouraged them to invest for the first time, and your partner could be that person.

    Some simply said that they were a partnership, managing money together, so it was only right they should have a say on joint household finances. This is perfectly sensible and can lead to better decisions when the needs of both partners are taken into consideration.

    For worse

    However, there are some cases where this can backfire horribly, so your partner becomes your financial glass ceiling.

    A partner who thinks they understand money, and is full of advice, but is suffering from a lack of knowledge and a surfeit of confidence, can cause real damage to your finances, encouraging you to make mistakes. There are boundaries worth considering where your partner is not a good influence.

    A partner who believes they have the right to make decisions alone can also cause havoc. Some people in the survey said their partner influences their money decisions the most because they are the primary earner. Couples will know what works best for them, but if they’re working on the basis that the biggest earner has the right to dictate the financial future of both of you, this should ring alarm bells.

    In roughly one in 20 cases, it goes beyond influence, and women hand over responsibility entirely to their partner. Some women say their partner is an expert or that it was an interest of theirs. While it’s perfectly sensible for them to play a role when they have better knowledge, if this means simply giving them all the responsibility it’s fraught with danger.

    A split or a bereavement will leave you adrift – desperately trying to get to grips with your finances at the worst possible time. Meanwhile, even if you’re together for life, they may be making decisions based on their own objectives and risk tolerance, which may not suit you at all.

    Why you should say ‘I do’ to your finances

    Paying attention to your finances could be one of the most important ‘I do’s’ in your life.

    You don’t need to be the next Warren Buffett, but learning about money and growing your confidence is one of the best things you can do for future you.

    Here are five top tips to smash the financial glass ceiling:

    1. Start today – Make financial wellbeing top of your to do list. It’ll help give you peace of mind both in the short term and long term.
    2. Get to know your money habits – Understanding your money mindset and any weaknesses will give you more control over your money. You can do this by checking your bank balance and finances regularly. Are you maintaining good spending habits? Are you making the most out of savings rates? Is your pension on track?
    3. Set intentions – What do you want to achieve in the future? This can be anything from your dream holiday to the Maldives to increasing your pension contributions. Writing these down can help keep you motivated in reaching your goals.
    4. Talk money – yes, this might seem taboo. But talking about money with your partner can help you break down barriers, build money confidence and help you both make better money decisions as a couple.
    5. Learn about finance – Confidence comes from knowledge. Why not build some financial resources into your weekly routine? Our very own ‘Switch Your Money On’ podcast or the Financially Fearless weekly email is a great way to start learning. If solo learning isn’t your thing, it could be worth suggesting a book about investing to your book club and discussing it with friends.

    Join the Financially Fearless mailing list

    Financially Fearless is the first step in empowering women to improve their financial health and wealth. Take your first step today and sign up for weekly emails packed full of expert content using the form below. Or if you’re on Instagram follow us @FinanciallyFearless_hl.

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