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Old 05-22-2011, 11:04 AM   #41
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If a person is real worried about their wife and has no heirs this is an idea.

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Old 05-22-2011, 11:47 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
There is enough cash handy in local savings to get her through a period of a year or two, so she wouldn't have to make any immediate decisions regarding investments.

This is a great idea since the first year you are basically in a fog .
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:40 PM   #43
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Money and numbers makes my DH uncomfortable and itchy. Weird, I know. So I've always handled everything. As he accumulated service years in his pension plan I made sure he had knowledge of where he stood and what we could do to optimize our future. He's a smart guy, he just has no interest in financial matters and he likes that I enjoy managing it for the two of us. I do all the banking, bill paying, tax planning and filing, and investing. Basically, if the bills are paid, there is food in the house and he has a little cash in his pocket, he does not want to think about the rest of it.

Like many others here, I have concerns about what would happen if I died suddenly. I keep a monthly spreadsheet of expenses on Google Documents that he has access to, I know he does not look at it. There is also an "Important Stuff" file with all the user names and passwords and a list of accounts. I keep papers at my desk and in a file cabinet that are clear (at least to me) about all our financial activity. After a health scare I reminded him that if I die first his pension increases from the "joint life" level to the "single life" amount and that I have $100,000 in term life insurance with the website link bookmarked on my computer.

I wish he would participate more since it's all his money, too. I opened a local savings account for 2% interest and wanted him as joint owner. It was a couple of months before he'd "find the time" to go into the bank with me and sign the signature card. It seems like he did it just for me, not because he actually cared. Good enough.

He's very cooperative about controlling spending and he says he doesn't mind downsizing and economizing now that he's retired.

I wish he was more interested in all of it but I guess I'll have to be content that he's cooperative. Our sons are very money savvy (I take credit for that!) so he'd have their help if something happened to me.
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:44 PM   #44
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Money and numbers makes my DH uncomfortable and itchy. Weird, I know. So I've always handled everything. As he accumulated service years in his pension plan I made sure he had knowledge of where he stood and what we could do to optimize our future. He's a smart guy, he just has no interest in financial matters and he likes that I want to manage it for the two of us. Basically, if the bills are paid, there is food in the house and he has a little cash in his pocket, he does not want to think about the rest of it.

Like many others here, I have concerns about what would happen if I died suddenly. I keep a monthly spreadsheet of expenses on Google Documents that he has access to, I know he does not look at it. There is also an "Important Stuff" file with all the user names and passwords and a list of accounts. I keep papers at my desk and in a file cabinet that are clear (at least to me) about all our financial activity.

I wish he would participate more since it's all his money, too. I opened a local savings account for 2% interest and wanted him as joint owner. It was a couple of months before he'd "find the time" to go into the bank with me and sign the signature card. It seems like he did it just for me, not because he actually cared. Good enough.

He's very cooperative about controlling spending and he says he doesn't mind downsizing and economizing now that he's retired.

I wish he was more interested in all of it but I guess I'll have to be content that he's cooperative.
It's difficult for me to understand that type of mindset but I guess it's far preferable to a spouse who is controlling and secretive regarding the finances.
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Old 05-22-2011, 01:01 PM   #45
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Money and numbers makes my DH uncomfortable and itchy. Weird, I know. So I've always handled everything. As he accumulated service years in his pension plan I made sure he had knowledge of where he stood and what we could do to optimize our future. He's a smart guy, he just has no interest in financial matters and he likes that I enjoy managing it for the two of us. I do all the banking, bill paying, tax planning and filing, and investing. Basically, if the bills are paid, there is food in the house and he has a little cash in his pocket, he does not want to think about the rest of it.

Like many others here, I have concerns about what would happen if I died suddenly. I keep a monthly spreadsheet of expenses on Google Documents that he has access to, I know he does not look at it. There is also an "Important Stuff" file with all the user names and passwords and a list of accounts. I keep papers at my desk and in a file cabinet that are clear (at least to me) about all our financial activity. After a health scare I reminded him that if I die first his pension increases from the "joint life" level to the "single life" amount and that I have $100,000 in term life insurance with the website link bookmarked on my computer.

I wish he would participate more since it's all his money, too. I opened a local savings account for 2% interest and wanted him as joint owner. It was a couple of months before he'd "find the time" to go into the bank with me and sign the signature card. It seems like he did it just for me, not because he actually cared. Good enough.

He's very cooperative about controlling spending and he says he doesn't mind downsizing and economizing now that he's retired.

I wish he was more interested in all of it but I guess I'll have to be content that he's cooperative. Our sons are very money savvy (I take credit for that!) so he'd have their help if something happened to me.
I could have written this same thing. DH is not interested in the least. I think that it would be so nice to have someone that was interested and would help making the decisions. However, I prefer the way he is to someone who would be all controlling. Unfortunately, our DS is not money savvy either.
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #46
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned:

We have savings that are supposed to provide for two people for 30 years. If I die suddenly, those same savings only need to provide for one person for 30 years. That's a much lower bar.

It may bother me to think my wife wouldn't be as efficient as I (think I) am. But it's not a matter of running out of money. She can spill some and still do fine.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:07 PM   #47
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Allow me to throw a cold bucket of water piece of reality in both your directions. Forgive me in advance if I am too blunt, but here it is...

I was suddenly widowed at age 46. If I had not known the complete status of our financial affairs, I would have been in a position of complete fiscal helplessness. In this day and age, there is simply no excuse for that, for either the husband or wife.

Your other choice is to hire an outsider to overcharge and churn manage the estate and finances. Be very careful about what is wished for.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:29 PM   #48
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For years I tried in vain to get the Princess interested in the family finances. Usually I worked with the theme that left on her own she would be easy prey for the unscrupulous, and at the very least she needed to just learn some basic principles of personal finance. No luck.

Then out of the blue she remarked, "if something happens to you, I don't know anything about our money, I would be totally screwed." Gee, I wish I had thought of that!

Her eyes still glaze over when the conversation gets too technical, but she keeps coming back wanting to know more. There were days I felt like Anne Sullivan Macy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, but after spending weeks learning what a mutual fund is - she rapidly went on to open her own Vanguard account, select a mutual fund on her own and make the purchase.

Her desire to learn came before her father's death, but after she received a small inheritance she turned very serious about finance and investing. That was when she got even more motivated to learn - because I told her I would help her understand her options, but never make an investment decision for her.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:35 PM   #49
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One possibility if there is enough is to consider a trust and have a bank or trusted attorney or CPA nominated as successor trustee to yourself. Place the assets there. My grandmother did this when my grandfather began to show signs of dementia. After he passed on, the bank took care of finding a nursing home for her, and selling the house etc, as well as paying the bills in the mean time. The bank was also the executor on the estates doing all the needed work. If one is concerned about ones spouse being able to handle the finances this is an alternative to at least consider.
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:51 AM   #50
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I suspect that when either of us dies, sorting things out will still be a king size PITA.
Unfortunately I agree with this, having recently been through the deaths of the last 3 of our parents over an 18 month period.

When MIL died it was a real pain sorting things out as she handled all the finances. Having sorted all that and got things lined up FIL died 6 months later - June last year, and 12 months later we are still not finished winding up the estate.

All I can do now, is get the finances set up as simply and well documented as I can, and accept that it won't be perfect.
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:45 AM   #51
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...

I suspect that when either of us dies, sorting things out will still be a king size PITA.

Narrowing down the issue to the property and finances.

Yes, it will be a PITA. But unless you have a really complicated financial situation... it can be dramatically simplified with some basic planning.


One can get as fancy as they want with estate planning... but approaches like joint tenancy with right of survivorship and designating asset transfer using beneficiary can be useful.

Of course, there is some administrative work. But you can prepare for that by getting information together and using an instruction list.


However, one should consult with a qualified estate attorney to craft their estate plan. The laws are different from state to state... so broad generalizations may not be relevant in certain states.
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:40 AM   #52
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Allow me to throw a cold bucket of water piece of reality in both your directions. Forgive me in advance if I am too blunt, but here it is...

I was suddenly widowed at age 46. If I had not known the complete status of our financial affairs, I would have been in a position of complete fiscal helplessness. In this day and age, there is simply no excuse for that, for either the husband or wife.

Your other choice is to hire an outsider to overcharge and churn manage the estate and finances. Be very careful about what is wished for.
I don't disagree, but how do you interest a spouse who doesn't like "numbers?" DW is more aware of the risks than almost anyone you know, but she still isn't interested. I have simplified our portfolio and it's all in one place, so it could not be easier to manage. After 31 years married, that's all I know to do. Cold bucket to you...
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:12 AM   #53
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... how do you interest a spouse who doesn't like "numbers?" DW is more aware of the risks than almost anyone you know, but she still isn't interested. I have simplified our portfolio and it's all in one place, so it could not be easier to manage.
+1

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All I can do now, is get the finances set up as simply and well documented as I can, and accept that it won't be perfect.
+1

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In this day and age, there is simply no excuse for that, for either the husband or wife.
-2

Walk a while in our moccasins and you'll find there are all sorts of excuses - not necessarily good ones, but we're talking quantity here, not quality. It may be that all of us posting on the subject lack the necessary skills to motivate our spouses to get interested in finances and investments but looking at this thread I'm hearing the same story over and over so I suspect it goes beyond that. I see it as another manifestation of why there are so few of us "E-R" types around - many human beans just aren't interested in the financial side of life.

Why is that? See my sig...
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:22 AM   #54
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I don't disagree, but how do you interest a spouse who doesn't like "numbers?" DW is more aware of the risks than almost anyone you know, but she still isn't interested. I have simplified our portfolio and it's all in one place, so it could not be easier to manage. After 31 years married, that's all I know to do. Cold bucket to you...
Same here--also I think about how some of us leave our w*rk jobs very conscientiously with lots of documentation about how tasks are done and setting up "smooth transition" paths for our successors, who often then come in, never look at it, put all the documentation in a file drawer, and do it their own way anyway. DH knows the numbers but doesn't want the details, but he will do it when he needs to and will figure it out and maybe he'll handle the finances completely differently.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:28 AM   #55
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Walk a while in our moccasins and you'll find there are all sorts of excuses - not necessarily good ones, but we're talking quantity here, not quality. It may be that all of us posting on the subject lack the necessary skills to motivate our spouses to get interested in finances and investments but looking at this thread I'm hearing the same story over and over so I suspect it goes beyond that. I see it as another manifestation of why there are so few of us "E-R" types around - many human beans just aren't interested in the financial side of life.

Why is that? See my sig...
I am no longer married, but I was married long enough to know that a quick route to unfun is to try to change a spouse in any direction at all. She (or he) may sometime say to you, "My hairdresser told me, or I read in Vogue... that I need to know about finances..." oh really, gosh, I never would even have thought of talking about that stuff! ...

I think responsibility ends where indifference begins. He or she will cope one way or another if this ever comes to pass, and to me anyway the main job of the dead partner is to have left some fond memories and smiles.

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Old 05-23-2011, 09:42 AM   #56
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My wife knows very little about financial planning, though I wish it were otherwise. I keep and maintain a "what to do if I'm hit by a bus" list of accounts, phone numbers and other information about our financial accounts (bank accounts, investments, insurance and so on). with instructions on what to do to get my individual assets transferred into her name as well as rough recommendations about how to invest it. Not perfect, but short of her suddenly desiring to know more about it, it'll do for now.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:43 AM   #57
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I don't disagree, but how do you interest a spouse who doesn't like "numbers?" DW is more aware of the risks than almost anyone you know, but she still isn't interested. I have simplified our portfolio and it's all in one place, so it could not be easier to manage. After 31 years married, that's all I know to do. Cold bucket to you...
I knew my post was provocative, and I gladly accept the cold bucket back.
What is that old adage...you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink ?

Some of the other posters here have indicated they have a 3rd party (relative or professional) lined up to assist.
I watched ex-dh2b's mother have her account churned over and over, on a quarterly basis, obviously for the commissions. Her response to what I thought were my helpful questions about the money management fees, the expense ratios and the necessity to have constant selling/buying activity going on, was
"Well, my late husband trusted them and so will I." Argh.

I really had to clamp my teeth shut, but I was smart enough to drop the conversation right then and there.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:19 AM   #58
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Ignorant Spouse?

Let them know.

One or the other of the two words in the title may soon become not true, solving the problem.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:35 AM   #59
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....I watched ex-dh2b's mother have her account churned over and over, on a quarterly basis, obviously for the commissions. Her response to what I thought were my helpful questions about the money management fees, the expense ratios and the necessity to have constant selling/buying activity going on, was
"Well, my late husband trusted them and so will I." Argh.

I really had to clamp my teeth shut, but I was smart enough to drop the conversation right then and there.
Your ex-dh2b (I love that term, FB )'s mother was just doing what her DH had set up--she familiarized herself with their finances and continued doing it that way after his death. This is a new can of worms, where maybe a different way of handling finances would be better.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:46 AM   #60
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Your ex-dh2b (I love that term, FB )'s mother was just doing what her DH had set up--she familiarized herself with their finances and continued doing it that way after his death. This is a new can of worms, where maybe a different way of handling finances would be better.
ex-dh2b it is a classic combination, isn't it ?

In this case, this lady did NOT familiarize herself, she just let the company make decisions for her and she signed off on the frequent trade paperw*rk as it was presented. One of her daughters had PoA, but she was not at all savvy about these things. The daughter didn't even know what the fee structure was, and never asked, as far as I knew.
I had to back off...nobody in the immediate family was interested in upsetting the apple cart.
I cringe to think about how much was sucked out of the accounts that were so carefully built up by her late husband to make sure she was provided for after his passing.
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