A few weeks ago, I was totally overwhelmed by the mail on my desk. I had a lot of important paperwork in there including checks that had to be deposited, license and car registration renewal forms, and a few pieces of paperwork that had to be scanned to send to my accountant as well.
Every time I tried to do one thing, it seemed like it took way longer than it should have. Eventually, I came to the realization that I had to ask my husband for help. I’ve always taken care of paperwork and bills ever since the first month we were married and he forgot to pay the water bill, which has been and will forevermore be called “The Water Bill Incident.”
Limited Time Makes Chores Difficult
Yet, now, after adding two kids and an increasingly busy business to run, I just couldn’t do all the financial chores anymore. You would think I could, given that I’m employed as a personal finance writer, but things were starting to slip.
Despite my husband’s busy schedule and impending board exams for medical school, I asked him to take on a few of these financial chores in addition to his chores around the house (we both have a list of cleaning chores we have to do every day to keep our marriage and house intact.)
Once he realized that I was drowning in bank letters and an endless list of financial chores, he was more than happy to step in and help. Unfortunately, I waited until I was at a breaking point when things had really piled up when I should have started asking for help a long time ago.
Asking For Help
It’s hard for me to ask for help. I’ve mentioned before that I’m stubborn and fiercely independent. I like to be able to do it all and take care of things like financial chores for my family. However, I underestimated just how much having children would affect my ability to do the smallest task, like scanning a document to send to my accountant.
My son can actually reach my printer now and spends several minutes a day opening and closing the top of it as if it’s the most fascinating thing in the world. Needless to say, not much scanning gets done while he is awake.
Stubborn as I am, help is what I needed. Interestingly enough, the more involved my husband became in our day to day finances, the more he was aware of our budget, our bank balances, and our overall financial heath. There were so many times in the past when I’d ask him if we could afford something and he’d just say, “You would know. You’re in charge of our money.” But now, I feel like we are both in charge of it.
Now, he knows the answer. He still comes in the door at the end of the day and hands me all the mail, but now I feel comfortable asking him to drop a check in the mail, when before I’d put both kids in the stroller and walk to the post office.
It’s hard to break an independent streak, but I would encourage anyone who does the majority of the financial chores to get their partner involved. I never wanted to bother my husband or make him break away from his studies. My thought was that anything I could do for him, even if it was dropping off a piece of mail, was a few more minutes he could study.
Now I realize that we are a team and he actually doesn’t mind helping at all. My attempt to “save” him from the financial chores only created more work and stress for me.
So, the moral of the story is that you and your significant other should both have financial chores. If you work together, you might be surprised at the positive results. Not only will they realize how much work it is to keep a family’s finances straight, but they actually might adjust their mindset or spending patterns once they realize where you stand financially.
Who does the financial chores in your house? How much time do you spend every day or week taking care of paying bills or managing your/your family’s finances? How would letting your partner help out change things?