“We need to talk.”

That’s the phrase that women need to embed in their minds when it comes to money issues. However, too many women still adhere to social taboos that make them uncomfortable confronting the men in their lives about money issues — whether that man is a business partner, money manager, romantic partner or spouse.

The end result for women is a dangerous sort of financial illiteracy. They often don’t even know what questions they should be asking. The answers they might get from a deceptive financial partner can too easily be crafted to lull them into a false sense of security — or designed to put them back over the imaginary line that many women observe.

However, a lot of financial advisers say that women are often their own worst enemies. Even with guidance, many women are hesitant to ask questions of a male partner because money conversations become tense and difficult. If the relationship is already faltering, that can kill any chance of a productive conversation.

If you’re a woman in a relationship that’s on the rocks, where do you start to figure out your financial footing if you no longer trust your spouse’s answers?

  1. Get as much financial documentation of your assets, holdings, income, stocks, bond, pension plans, collections, insurance premiums and credit cards as you can. Include bank records and utility bills, repair bills and anything else related to your finances. Make copies of everything, even if you aren’t sure what they are related to or if they have any significance.
  2. Find a financial adviser who can start with the basics, talking in plain language as you sort through the documentation. You’ll pick up the lingo eventually and fine-tune the conversations later.
  3. Ask for real-life examples of how different financial scenarios or plays can turn out if you are planning a divorce. It’s important to involve a financial planner or adviser as well as an attorney — they perform different, roles during high-asset divorces.
  4. Determine your goals. These may be set more around long-term security than wealth, so be clear with your adviser from the start about what’s more important. That can help guide the conversation.

For more information on how you can survive a high-asset divorce and actually end up more financially literate than you are now, talk to your attorney today.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Women should break silence over money issues,” Janet Bodnar, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Sep. 08, 2017