Last year, while leaving for a conference, I had a morbid thought… what if the plane goes down?
- Would my husband know how to pay the bills online?
- Would he know the passwords?
- Does he know which payments go out automatically from my checking account and which don't?
The list in my head went on and on… it’s not that I’ve kept any of this information from him or that he can’t do it; it’s just that in our marriage, I have always been the one that takes care of our finances. But how sad, confused and mad would he be if he had to do it all on his own? - he better be sad!
I knew then that I wasn’t doing him any favors by not involving him in the process; he really needed to understand how and where our money went for several reasons. Just like I need to know how to change a flat tire if I’m ever stranded - and yes, I can change a flat tire in under 2 hours.
So, who pays the bills and takes care of the finances in your family? Now what happens when they are no longer there?
It happens every day and we see it so often. But you can help your loved one avoid this rough situation by making sure your spouse knows as much as you do about your finances. Here are a couple if ideas:
- Weekly: Paying bills should be a joint effort. Make a fun evening out of it by ordering in and reviewing your spending and paying the week’s bills over dinner (it’s not as bad as it sounds). Then, your spouse can do it next week. I guarantee that both of you will have a better understanding of how you spend your money and how much of it gets saved or invested. You can take over a chore they normally do in exchange for dealing with the week’s bills.
- Monthly: Review your investment account statements together. You should both know how much you have saved for retirement and how much money is in an emergency fund. Refresh your memory on how to log in your accounts, make changes to contribution amounts or print statements. This ensures that you both have all the information you need to make any changes in the future.
We had a client that was so diligent she wrote down all of her passwords on a piece of paper and locked it in the safe for her husband; small issue though, she forgot to write down the combination to the safe for him. FYI – a locksmith will not open a safe just because you tell them it’s yours. ☹
In conclusion, you’ve probably talked about the big stuff like where you want to be buried or if you prefer to be cremated, but sometimes it’s the everyday/twice a month finances and bill paying that cause the most confusion when someone is no longer there. So, share the bills, banking duties, passwords, and invest as a team.
Chances are, one of you will be glad you did at some point down the road.
If you have any questions or need suggestions on budgets, bill paying, or password vaults please call us. We’re here to help with all areas of your financial future.