Meet in the Middle
Whether you are newly engaged or suddenly find a long-term relationship challenged by a financial setback, support each other. Retreating to your corners does not help. Nor does finger-pointing; blame doesn't help your balance sheet. To address any money problem, you need to work together to come up with a game plan.
Consider Yourselves Equals
Who makes what is irrelevant. Do you hear me, stay-at-home moms? The size of your paycheck does not determine your role in the family finances. Respect each other as equal partners, with an equal say in money management.
Don't Hide Your Head in the Sand
A lot of women fall into the habit of letting their partner handle the money. If you are one of those women, that's not your spouse's fault; it's yours. Your husband may be doing a fabulous job with your money—that's not the point. You need to understand the family finances and weigh in on all decisions. In the Fidelity survey, just 15 percent of couples feel confident that either of them could take over the finances if necessary. That's especially chilling for women; the fact that women tend to live longer than men means they may need to rely on the money longer and will also find themselves managing it at some point. The longer you wait to engage, the bigger the surprises you may find down the line.
Ask Suze your questions about debt & saving money
Suze Orman's most recent book is her 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound (Spiegel & Grau).
From the November 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.