Correction – she attempted to sign for my student loan.
I remember sitting beside my grandmother in a large bank building downtown and being told that my grandmother (a woman who had a career and now a pension and at many points in their lives made more money than my grandfather) needed to go home and get my grandfather to sign for what was at that time $6500.
In the van on the way home to get my grandfather, I knew my grandmother wanted nothing more than to go back to that bank and tell them exactly what she thought of their treatment of her. But she didn’t because she knew, that student loan would mean the difference between me being able to go to the university of my choice instead of the university of my mother’s choosing.
We got my grandfather and he went and signed the papers my grandmother told him to.
It was a ridiculous situation and yet over a decade later I feel like I am living it every time my husband and I get mail from the credit card company we currently deal with and the credit card companies who would like to deal with us.
To give you a brief picture, my husband and I have one joint chequing account where we do all of our spending from. We have owned every single large purchase together including cars, houses and debt for twelve years. We do however have separate credit cards though they are from the same bank.
Still, it is not uncommon for him to get letters from the bank offering a credit limit increase and I have never (not once!) received one.
Yesterday, we both received new credit card offers from another large bank and my husband’s letter included a pre-approved 5 figure credit limit. My offer was for their basic card and instructions to call for credit limit approval.
Certainly, my husband has a wonderful credit score – but it has been tied to me for over TEN YEARS! Trust me, my credit score is just as good as his.
On top of that, for more than twelve years I have made more money than my husband and for the last eight months he hasn’t brought home a single pay cheque because we moved across the country for a job opportunity for me (can we just take a moment to say YAY for supportive husbands!).
Even the spending in the household is done primarily by me including groceries, household necessities, dance (hundreds of dollars a month – but don’t get me started), all the other kids’ activities and necessities and the majority of booking of vacations, travel and all the extra things.
I am both the breadwinner and the spender in our family. I am among the 1/3 of women (according to Time and Macleans Magazines) that make more money than our husbands. This is not an unusual situation (nor was it when my grandmother sat in that bank in the late nineties).
Is it just me or do the banks need to get with this not-so-new reality? Am I the only one getting mail that clearly indicates my husband’s business (with his smaller income and limited spending in comparison to mine) is more important than mine?
There is however one good thing (actually two) that came out of my grandfather signing for my student loan. Every single month for the many years it took me to pay off a total of $13,000 in student loans I received a bill in the mail addressed to me with my grandfather’s name below mine. It was a reminder that my grandparents loved and supported me and would help make any of my dreams a reality. Second, this monthly bill reminded me the importance of a woman being self-sufficient both financially and emotionally.
Maybe it’s time the banks took a few lessons from my grandmother.