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Financial Myths About Marriage: Debunking Blissful Misconceptions

Finance

So you've found the love of your life – but now it's time to combine bank accounts. As much as a marriage is about creating a lasting bond with the person you love, it's also important to remember that a marriage is a business partnership. Sharing your life with someone means sharing every part of it, including your financial situation. There are a lot of misconceptions about the financial ramifications of marriage, and it's time to learn what's true and what's not.


Myth: Getting Married Always Improves Your Tax Situation

We've all heard people joke that they're just going to get married for the tax benefits. Without a doubt, married couples filing jointly do often see more benefits than those filing separately. Couples typically have lower income tax liability, the standard deduction generally is higher and you may apply for other tax benefits that don't apply to single filers. However, there are still certain situations in which filing separately may be the best option. It is important to remember that filing jointly means you are jointly responsible for any interest or penalties incurred by your spouse. You may consider filing separately if you feel as though your spouse is filing inaccurately or dishonestly or is having too little federal tax withheld from their paychecks. If one spouse has higher medical expenses, it may also be a good idea to file separately. Keep in mind, however, that those filing separately are not eligible for many of the benefits joint filers receive, like the Earned Income Credit and education credits, and only one spouse may claim a child as a dependent.

"Communication with your partner is vital when it comes to being financially successful as a married couple" - Leslie Tayne

Myth: Married Couples Have To Have Joint Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

If your spouse is carrying a lot of credit card debt, it may best to maintain separate accounts and pool your resources so you can avoid becoming legally responsible for their debt, which can also affect your credit score. While this may not be the most romantic move, it can be financially beneficial to both of you in the long run. If you do wish to have a joint credit card and your partner is carrying debt, open a new card together instead of adding your name to one of their existing accounts.

Myth: You Can Maintain Complete Financial Independence Once You're Married

There are misconceptions on both sides of the coin here. Many people go into marriage thinking that they are going to be able to keep all of their money separate from their partner's and that that will work out just fine. Most likely, this won't be the case. Married couples have to make a lot of financial decisions together, even if they are pulling from separate accounts. Holding on too tightly to the idea of “my money" may lead to conflict with you and your partner somewhere down the line. While you can certainly maintain some of your independence – and may want to if your partner has a bad credit history – it's important to realize that the big decisions should be a team effort.

"There are endless benefits to being married – including financial perks. Being educated on how marriage will change your money situation can help you find your financial happy ever after" - Leslie Tayne

Myth: Being Married Improves Your Credit Score

In the same vein, combining your finances with your partner's does not necessarily mean your credit score will improve. Both of you will continue to carry your own individual credit score, even if you combine your accounts. Any debt of your own that you carry will continue to affect your score regardless of how well your joint accounts are doing. However, having your name added as an account holder on your spouse's account that is not in good standing will have a negative effect on your credit score. Additionally, any accounts or loans you may try to open together will take both of your scores into consideration.

Myth: You Should Open New Credit Cards If You Change Your Name

It is a common misconception that you must cancel any credit cards bearing your former name if you change it once you get married. This is simply not true – you can contact your credit card company and have your name changed on the account, and they will send you a new card with your new name. Keeping credit cards open, particularly ones with positive credit history will be in your best interest.

"As much as a marriage is about creating a lasting bond with the person you love, it's also important to remember that a marriage is a business partnership. Sharing your life with someone means sharing every part of it, including your financial situation" - Leslie Tayne

Myth: Talking About Finances Will Ruin Your Relationship

Talking about money can often be an uncomfortable subject, mainly if you fear you may have differing opinions about finances than your partner and feel as though broaching the topic may lead to conflict. However, avoiding the issue will only lead to trouble. Talking openly and honestly about your financial situation, spending habits and savings goals will only serve to strengthen your relationship and allow you and your partner to make well-thought-out decisions that will benefit both of you. If you make money talk a regular, everyday part of your relationship, you will be better equipped to address disagreement if it does in fact arise.

"Talking openly and honestly about your financial situation, spending habits and savings goals will only serve to strengthen your relationship and allow you and your partner to make well-thought-out decisions that will benefit both of you." - Leslie Tayne

Communication with your partner is vital when it comes to being financially successful as a married couple. If you have had credit problems in the past, be honest with your spouse about how it could affect your situation. If your spouse has had credit problems, be open about your concerns and consider how their financial history could affect your own standing. There are endless benefits to being married – including financial perks. Being educated on how marriage will change your money situation can help you find your financial happy ever after.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.