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Mothers' Day: when cash is better than chocolates or flowers

flowers for mothers daySo what will you get on Sunday? Breakfast in bed? Chocolates? Flowers? I’m not expecting anything and that’s fine: we never did Mother’s Day when I was a child so I’ve not come to expect it and cynically, think it’s another Hallmark Holiday – one promoted by the greetings card industries.

But if you have a less jaded attitude, then I hope you get what you want on Mother’s Day. Here’s the thing, though – and given that it’s International Women’s Day it’s relevant: what mothers really need isn’t empty calories but full bank accounts of their own. The last bit is what’s important: you need your own personal account, not just a joint one with your partner. I do find it worrying that even these days there are women who are totally financially dependent on their other halves.

I know that if you don’t work you’ve not got your own income, so maybe you can’t have your own current account. But you can have a savings account and put cash presents in it (and if anyone asks what you want for a gift, say banknotes). It will build up and eventually you’ll have a nest egg. What you do with that money is up to you – but wouldn’t it be nice to have your own cash to splash? However, there’s a more serious side here. I’m treading carefully, but I know of several women who are probably only staying put with their husbands because they have no means of escape. They haven’t worked since they had children and all the family money is in their husband’s name. They might have a joint account for household expenditure but it’s not their cash and they can’t spend it how they like. To me, this smacks of a return to the 1950s.

Of course, relationships are complicated and sometimes we’ve all felt like walking out after a row. But for some women, they can’t jump on a train with the kids and hole up in a rented cottage for a bit before they sort things out. If they had some cash sitting in their names alone, that would give them the freedom to escape if they want – or need – to. While my late mother never had a great job she always had her own bank account. My parents were (fairly) happily married for nearly 50 years. Part of that might be because they had their own independent finances. Certainly, I don’t remember them arguing about who had spent what and why – because they had their own money (and they were also pretty frugal). And it’s easy to open an account in your own name at the local bank or building society as long as you have ID. In this instance, getting the top rate of interest isn’t the thing. But there are plenty of guides to the best deals here. And see our guide to savings accounts here.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2019