Money and Marriage

Marriage is supposed to be an equal partnership. There should always be a fair division of labor. When it comes to finances, it is usually just one person that handles the bills, the distribution of funds and all investments and insurance policies. This is a fine arrangement as having two people trying to run the show can lead to bounced checks, bills paid twice and many other types of misunderstandings. But the spouse not in charge of the money should be kept abreast of all financial matters so that in case of an accident or death, they are not left clueless about where they stand financially.

What the Other Partner Needs to Know

It is not just important that the other partner not involved with daily financial matters know when the bills are due, they also need to know about any insurance policies and any restrictions that go along with them. They will need to know who to contact should an insurance policy be needed to put into affect.

Both partners need to be aware of any investments that are made such as stock options, IRA’s and any other income producing assets. They need to know when any money should be expected to arrive and what to do if it doesn’t such as stock dividends. Financial options at retirement should also be discussed before any final decisions are made. You want to insure that the surviving spouse will have plenty left to live on should anything happen to one or the other.

How to Keep Others Informed of Your Financial Picture

The best way to keep the spouse that is not in charge of finances abreast of developments is to keep a binder that contains all the information about anything that has to do with money. The amount of an insurance policy and what company it is held by, stock options including no-load mutual funds and 401K plans and IRAs should all be kept together so that if something unforeseen should happen, the other partner is not left in the dark.

You should have the financial records divided into several groups. The first section should cover your assets. List all your investments and the banks and brokerages firms for which they can be found. Real estate and mortgages held on said properties should also be included in this section. For insurance policies, list any beneficiaries and if the insurance is going to be continued to be paid after the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse will need to know the payment schedule. Also important is leaving passwords for any web based accounts along with the websites that might be held.

Another section should be for the debts you have accumulated. Ideally listed would be the date of beginning balances such as for a mortgage or a car loan, and if it is credit card debt, be sure you have the account numbers along with a customer service number so that the other spouse can easily access any information they may require.

If you have a safety deposit box, list the location and contact information for the next of kin to have access to it. Have a record in this section as well as to any retirement benefits for both, and what to do in case of a debilitating accident or death.

Knowing the full financial picture should one or the other be unable to continue to manage finances will make all the difference and give you a feeling of safety and security in case something untoward should happen.

2 thoughts on “Money and Marriage

  1. over 7000 000 people in the UK alone keep bank accounts and debt a secret from their partners or spouses. Financial problems are a root cause of many domestic arguments, so good advice!

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