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Dear Gramps

I was having a discussion with a friend about who should control the finances. In her marriage her husband takes care of the finances and I handle most of my husband and I’s finances. She said she has been told and read in several books that the man is supposed to handle the finances even if he is making a wreck of them. I actually feel that it should be mutual doing and sometimes it’s better for one partner to handle them versus the other. I’m trying to find references as to what she is talking about.

Thank You,


Dear Tara,

I do not believe you will find a reference in Church teachings where it states that either the husband or wife should handle the finances, but rather it should be something that is done together. The following statement appears in a Priesthood lesson from a previous year.

“All members of the family should discuss financial matters and agree on a system for handling finances. This may be done by holding a family council in which the father presides and family members participate. At this council, the family should make a list of all sources of income for family use. This list might include money earned by members of the family, homegrown vegetables and grains that could be sold, or items made at home to sell to others.

Next, the family should write down all their needs and wants, listing first the more important expenses and then the desired but nonessential items. The list might include Church contributions; savings (for such things as going to the temple, serving a mission, and gaining an education); taxes; and money budgeted for housing, food, clothing, tools, transportation, and recreation.

Finally, the family should agree on how much money can be set aside for each item. Some less important items at the end of the list may never be purchased, but it is better to take care of the necessities first. President Brigham Young once said: “Our wants are many, but our real necessities are very few. Let us govern our wants by our necessities, and we shall find that we are not compelled to spend our money for naught” (Discourses of Brigham Young [1954], 297). On another occasion he explained that poverty is caused by the lack of wise judgment. He noted that many people who earn very little waste it on unimportant things until they are deeply in debt. (See Discourses of Brigham Young [1954], 317.)”

Staying out of debt, paying our tithes and offerings, not spending more than we make, saving for a “rainy day”, and being prudent in the handling of our finances are what the Brethren have given counsel on.

The decision of where the money is spent needs to be a joint decision and in some cases a family decision, but who actually writes the checks can either be the husband or wife.  I have a financial background and have seen cases where it was best for the husband to handle it, others where it was best for the wife to handle it, others where they both handled specific areas and unfortunately where neither one did a very good job.  Who handles it needs to be decided together.

I think in our society, especially in prior years, it was considered to be the man’s responsibility.  Sometimes you will find women who don’t respect their husband if he is unable to handle the finances since “it is a man’s responsibility”.  I don’t think that you find that as much today as maybe in prior years.


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