Dear Reader: In every couple, there's usually one person who takes the financial lead, and that makes sense. We all have our own talents and interests, and handling finances may come more naturally to one person than the other.
But I agree that, even if your husband is handling the details, it's essential you also have complete knowledge of your family's financial matters -- both large and small. Keeping you in the loop is not only essential -- to me, it's a sign of respect. And hopefully, your husband won't interpret your interest as a threat or vote of no confidence, but more like making sure you have each other's backs.
In my own family, I'm more the day-to-day person, but my husband is aware of every account and is part of every important decision. You might use this as a model when you approach your husband with your concerns.
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR INTEREST -- AND YOUR PURPOSE
Because you've been content in the past to let your husband take the financial lead, it's possible he will see your new interest as somehow questioning the way he's been handling things.
Make sure he understands that you're not doubting his ability or asking him to give up control. You're just asking to be a partner in a very important part of your life together -- for the well-being of both of you.
PUT IT IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR MUTUAL GOALS
One easy way to start the money conversation is to talk about your plans for the future. What do you each want to accomplish? Where do you want to travel? What's your retirement scenario?
This isn't just about money; it's about your dreams. But it does take money and a certain amount of financial planning to achieve them. Talking about your life goals could be a good way to open the door to your greater personal involvement in helping to plan and save for them.
SHOW HIM YOU'RE SERIOUS BY ASKING THESE QUESTIONS
To plan and save wisely, you need to understand what you have, what you owe, and how you're protecting yourselves. Your husband may initially feel that it's too much of an effort to explain everything, so make it easier for him by having a concise list of questions.
Start by asking about your: