In this week’s Money Mistake Monday I wanted to get a little personal with you, as I am sure more than a few of you handle the finances for your family all by yourself – like I used to. I was never concerned with the “what-if’s” with our finances; I would be here to handle everything so there was no need for her to know everything that was going on! Boy was I wrong, and it took a heavy-duty cancer scare to get me to really start sharing financial information with my wife. It’s not that she didn’t know anything or want to know or that I didn’t want her to know; rather, it was just easier for me to handle everything, ask her opinion on the bigger issues, and get back to taking care of it. She knew our checking account was at Bank of America, but she did not know that we also had accounts at credit unions, online banks, a bond company in another state, where our retirement accounts were, etc…Granted, she is a very smart woman and would have figured it all out if I was not here to take care of everything, but still – why make her go through that at all? So when my cancer issue snuck up on us, we started talking about the “where” and “why” of how our finances are handled so she could easily take over if need be.
I also have created a spreadsheet with all the account information listed on it; where the credit cards, bank accounts, mutual funds, stocks, money market accounts, retirement accounts, bonds, etc. are all located, along with phone numbers for each account. If something were to happen to me, I would not want her to spend days trying to figure out where our money was in case she needed to access any of it and/or lose any of it because I was not around to tell her where it was. It would be crappy enough if I was suddenly gone…having to deal with banks would just add to the misery and I wanted to help her avoid having to do that.
Luckily for me (and her, I think ) my health is fine and I will continue to run our finances for our family and should be around for a while. But my wife is getting educated on everything we do from now on, just in case. Don’t wait another minute – if you are married or have a significant other, get them involved in your finances to both help yourself out by sharing some of the information and help them out in case they need the information in the future.