At Libertine Consultants we have seen too many newly-divorced men and women who are at their wit’s end because they weren’t kept in the loop where the household finances were concerned. When you’re the person who makes the sacrifice of putting your career on hold to take care of the important task of bringing up children, you have the right to make certain demands to safeguard your financial wellbeing.
Here are a few things we recommend every stay-at-home parent should do:
Put your agreements on paper
You may have a marriage contract, but do you have a domestic finance contract? If it is decided that your career has to take a backseat, you need to discuss how you will be compensated for your sacrifice. Will you be given a monthly allowance? Or are you allowed access to the shared account to cover expenses? Will you be going back to work at a later stage or taking refresher courses to stay up to date with your industry? Put these things in writing.
Insist on access to the household finance reports
When you receive an allowance from the main breadwinner of the family, it’s easy to be left in the dark where the rest of the finances are concerned. Is your partner making investments without your knowledge? What are your shared and separate assets? If the worst should happen and your partner should die, or you should get divorced, these are things you need to know. Similarly, you should be invited to meetings with the family’s financial planner. Every decision regarding money should be fully transparent.
Don’t fall out of touch with your industry
Read up, take distance courses, keep your contact list fresh and up to date. Don’t depend on the fact that your partner will be bringing home the bacon forever. They could take ill, or you might decide to move on. In these cases, you should be in step with your peers, so you can slot back into your chosen industry with ease.
Following these guidelines will place you in a more secure position when it comes to managing your own finances. No-one likes to expect the worst, but it always pays to be prepared. If you feel you are currently out of the loop, it’s time to ask your partner to put you on an even keel with themselves. A marriage is a partnership, and when you’re the one bearing the brunt of the day-to-day domestic responsibilities, it’s your right to know what is going on. Exercise this right and inform yourself – knowledge is power, and you deserve a seat at the table where your household finances are concerned.