Money & relationships: What you should do if your husband doesn't share financial details
In the second part of the new series, ET Wealth talks about a wife’s rights and the steps she can take if the spouse is reluctant to dispense money or information.
1. Know your financial rights
A wife has the legal right to secure basic amenities and comfort—food, clothes, residence, education and medical treatment— for herself and her children from the husband. So, understand that as a homemaker, you should not have to ask your husband for money; he is bound by law to provide it to you. Also, the wife has a right to know the details of her husband’s salary, as per a 2018 ruling by the Madhya Pradesh High Court. This is important because the quantum of salary will provide clarity to the wife about how much money she can have for household and personal expenses.
2. Show interest, split financial responsibility
If your husband does not share financial information, it is possible that at the start of the relationship, you did not evince any interest in financial transactions. If you want to change the status quo, have a conversation about it with the spouse. It is important to not only display interest, but also split financial responsibilities as per your individual skills. If you are good with investments, take on the responsibility, leaving the tasks of earning and paying bills to the husband. If investing is not your forte, you could handle the household budget and payment of bills, leaving investments to the spouse.
3. Get this information
If the husband is not sharing information out of habit or laziness, not malice, make sure you seek it from him periodically. Both the partners should be in the know about important financial aspects because if one were to pass away, the other should not be left clueless. While it is not important that you communicate on a day-to-day basis, both should be on the same page when it comes to goals and budgeting. Make sure that you know the accounts and passwords of all online and offline saving and investment accounts. You should also know about the investments in your or your spouse’s name, and have access to original documents of all insurance policies, be it life, health, vehicle or house. Finally, ensure access to will and property documents, essential for smooth transition of assets.
4. If husband refuses
If you have tried to talk to your husband about the need to share crucial financial information, and he is reluctant to do so or refuses outright, try to seek the help of a mediator. This person can be a trusted confidant or older relative, respected by both spouses, who can help clear the impasse. If this doesn’t work, approach a financial adviser, who can take an objective and pragmatic stance on the need to share financial details. If this, too, fails, seek a marriage counseller as a last resort because the issues and fissures are clearly deeper, involving your marriage, not merely your finances.
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All of us have been in a financial dilemma when it comes to relationships. How do you say no to a friend who wants you to invest in his new business venture? Should you take a loan from your married brother? Are you concerned about your wife’s impulse buying? If you have any such concerns that are hard to resolve, write in to us at email@example.com with ‘Wealth Whines’ as the subject.
Disclaimer: The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.