A few months ago my Relief Society held a meeting about managing resources and staying out of debt. One member of the presidency had prepared a fantastic slideshow and presented beautifully the basics of financial planning. Following the meeting, I left the room with a friend who said to me, "Did you learn anything? I hate thinking about money and investments - I leave that to 'Joe' to figure out."
I was electrified. The hair on my arms actually stood on end. But in true Sarah fashion, I smiled and nodded, muttering something about "it's not for everyone".
Februaray's Visiting Teaching message is on managing resources and I loved this quote:
What skills do we need to help us become self-reliant? . . . In the early days of the Church, Brigham Young pled with the sisters to learn to prevent illness in families, establish home industries, and learn accounting and bookkeeping and other practical skills. Those principles still apply today. Education continues to be vitally important. . . .
"I asked several bishops what self-reliance skills the sisters in their wards needed most, and they said budgeting. Women need to understand the implications of buying on credit and not living within a budget."2Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president.
A middle aged widow bore her testimony in church a few months ago. She was so nervous to do it that she read it. She pled with the congregation to please cross-train with their spouses. She expressed her frustration with learning how to use a snowblower, performing basic maintenance on her vehicles and home, and managing money.
This is a concept that I have tried to explain to Mr. X several times. There is absolutely nothing wrong with specializing in an area as long as the other partner has the skills and knowlege to complete the task on their own. In one of my college courses the instructor labeled such specialization as being co-equal rather than being co-dependent.
A wife who is financially co-dependent leaves all financial decisions up to her husband and accepts her household allowance without question or knowledge of the larger financial picture. Her husband doesn't believe she has the skills or ability to manage the family budget and so "protects" her from it. A wife who is co-equal, on the other hand, understands the financial situation, supplies input and another perspective to her husband, but may leave the day to day execution of financial planning to her husband.
Similarly, a husband who is co-dependent may be incapable of preparing a healthy meal. His wife believes he can't even put cereal in a bowl on his own. A co-equal husband knows how to prepare a meal to feed himself and other family members, but - depending on the division of labor - he may generally leave the management of the meal preparation to his wife.
Please don't leave all your financial decisions "to Joe to figure out", but counsel together to determine the best course of action for your family.