Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Ignorant Spouse
Old 05-21-2011, 10:19 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
SteveL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 380
Ignorant Spouse

I tried a couple of searches but didn't find anything on point, so I'd like to see if anyone has any ideas I haven't thought about.

My DW is not only totally ignorant about all things financial, she is totally uninterested in changing this situation. As long as I remain above the grass, this isn't a problem. I manage our finances, investments, do the taxes, etc. etc. etc. Every time I bring stuff up, within five minutes the eyes glaze over.....

I pay the bills via on-line banking, and use an on-line brokerage.

The problem, is that if I die first, what is she going to do about all this financial stuff. I've got a file of stuff for her. I've got lists of stuff etc.

She can't use quicken. She isn't familiar with the on-line banking or brokerage accounts and processes. She uses a computer to do email and surf, but doesn't understand how they work in any material way. There is no way she could do the taxes, or perhaps even get the stuff together to go to a tax person. (Each year when I do the return, I review it with her so she sees it, but it doesn't stick.)

I have an hourly adviser I see once a year or so, and he has given me a list of advisers who manage money, some of whom do taxes. But, just the transitions might be a challenge for her.

There are a couple of trust companies that some friends use, and I could direct her to go to one of them.

If I had a dread disease, I could perhaps set this up in advance.

I'm not interested in making this kind of change unless really needed because it would cost a lot to have others do what I am doing for free.

Either of my sons could help, but they are not local, and both have careers that keep them hopping.

I can't be the only person in this situation.
__________________

__________________
Retired -- 2001
SteveL is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-21-2011, 10:37 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,998
After a divorce, I no longer have this problem, but when I was still married, I had a "letter of instruction" attached to my will. It is non-binding, but it included the name and contact info for an adviser I trusted. I did not do business with him myself, but I talked to him about the arrangement and he managed the affairs for some other people I trusted. My hope was that if i was no longer able to manage financial affairs, that he would be contacted and able to take over.

I also kept good records and had most accounts at the same provider (one bank, one brokerage) all linked together and a simple mix of funds. Even if my survivor did nothing, everything should be fine for some years. All the contact info and account numbers were in the letter of instructions.
__________________

__________________
growing_older is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 10:45 AM   #3
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Traveling...
Posts: 15,234
It is a similar situation with us.

I keep an encrypted spreadsheet with the account names and passwords and she knows the password to that - it never changes.

Although she does not pay the bills I'm sure she can quickly learn how to do so. All the payment required notifications come to my e-mail and she has full access to that. She is certainly capable of taking on all this.

On the finance side she is not interested at all in the details. I have simplified everything these days to a handful of funds with all dividends going to a MMF fund. She has said that if something happens suddenly to me then she will get DD to help. DD lives 150 miles away, DS lives close by.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 10:47 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 20,424
I understand your concern. But people are able to learn things that they never wanted to learn, if they need to. My ex always had a very casual attitude toward earning money. She cut that out fast as soon as she was paying her own bills!

Ha
__________________
Insanity in individuals is something rare-but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule-Friederich Nietzsche
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 10:49 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,692
Start putting a document together with the title "Open on my death."
Keep it prominently displayed on the desktop of your computer, but encrypt it with a password your wife would easily remember.
Make it a habit to update it whenever you think of it.
The document should include:
1. information about all your accounts, how to access them, and usernames/passwords.
2. a general overview of how to manage your finances.
3. information and recommendations for how to involve a financial advisor if she doesn't want to handle it herself (she might surprise you).

If you make it all a very simple, step-by-step instruction manual, complete with TOC and index, I think you will not only handle the situation but also let yourself sleep better at night while still on this side of the grass.
__________________
braumeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
Calgary_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Calgary
Posts: 749
I would start the process NOW of getting her familiar with paying the bills, etc. while you are still on the right side of the ground in order to get her comfortable with the process. I would not wait until you are gone and have her open an envelope with logins and passwords....the time will be stressful enough for her. She will be going through a grieving process and then to expect her to learn "Greek" at the same timing will be overwhelming....
__________________
I can only be nice to one person today! Today is not your day...tomorrow doesn't look good either.
Calgary_Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 11:51 AM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 13,696
(I thought this thread was going to be about Maria Shriver ).

You'll probably also want to be sure your children also have whatever financial information your spouse will need at your passing?

I handle all our finances and try to keep it all very simple--same user names/passwords for all accounts, investments all at one outfit, etc. Only one account is on autopay--we still get paper bills for everything else so if something happened DH could just go back to writing checks as bills come in. He has a personality (not afraid to ask questions, to put it mildly) that would enable him to get up to speed very quickly I think.
__________________
Anything can happen. Anything happens all the time.
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 11:57 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 8,952
Beyond the incredibly unfortunate choice of words to describe a spouse...

Similar situation with DW and I, however she pays the bills and balances the checkbook, so no issues there. She knows how to get all the passwords and important documents. And she is probably more computer/tech literate than most people our age, though no 'power user.'

I handle all the investing and taxes though, and it's probably typical for one spouse to take the lead investing. Fortunately our portfolio is simpler now than it once was, so she should be able to manage with the help of Vanguard (just another benefit of having our assets with Vanguard, at least I wouldn't be leaving her with retail brokerage sharks). And I have no illusion that she'll ever develop an interest in investing, not even the basics. Our taxes are also simpler than they once were so I am sure she could manage with a $20 investment in TurboTax.

I don't expect it to get any better than that. All you can do is put things in place to help her...
__________________
“Investing is a game won by the most disciplined, not by the smartest." William Bernstein
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57
Target AA: 55% equity funds / 40% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 12:01 PM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
BTravlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 907
I'm curious to know what ages the two of you are.

I handle all the finances, bill paying, taxes, etc, but my wife does like to be updated and we've made it a habit of going over everything on a quarterly basis. She could transition into taking charge if she needed to but really doesn't want to do it.
__________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
(In other words, no whining!)
BTravlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 12:08 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,056
Identical to our situation; when it comes to finance, he is like the Chairman of the Board, while I am CEO, CFO, CTO, and CIO combined! It just evolved that way because of our different personalities. He is very intelligent and would do just fine (after a period of utter panic, of course) if I left the scene.

Amethyst

Quote:
Originally Posted by BTravlin View Post
I handle all the finances, bill paying, taxes, etc, but my wife does like to be updated and we've made it a habit of going over everything on a quarterly basis. She could transition into taking charge if she needed to but really doesn't want to do it.
__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.’ Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 12:09 PM   #11
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 28,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Start putting a document together with the title "Open on my death."
Keep it prominently displayed on the desktop of your computer, but encrypt it with a password your wife would easily remember.
Make it a habit to update it whenever you think of it.
The document should include:
1. information about all your accounts, how to access them, and usernames/passwords.
2. a general overview of how to manage your finances.
3. information and recommendations for how to involve a financial advisor if she doesn't want to handle it herself (she might surprise you).

If you make it all a very simple, step-by-step instruction manual, complete with TOC and index, I think you will not only handle the situation but also let yourself sleep better at night while still on this side of the grass.
+1

When my father found out he had terminal cancer, he did this. He put together a binder explaining how to do EVERYTHING and where to go for more information or experts to help her if needed. He organized the binder with dividers labeled "investing", "home maintenance", and so forth so that she could find what she needed.

When he died shortly thereafter, my mother followed what was written in the binder for the first year or two until she no longer needed it. She did wonderfully and this method worked very well.
__________________
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
- - Lao-tzu
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 12:12 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,993
My wife doesn't use Quicken or do any online banking, either. That's fine, if I'm gone she'll get things done with paper and telephone and in person.

Assume that if you die suddenly, either of your sons will be happy to spend a day or two with Mom re-arranging things to fit her preferences. There may be a couple months where the son is on the phone a couple times a week clarifying stuff. In most cases, they will be happy for the opportunity to "do something useful" after your sudden demise.

So write your letter of instructions more for the son than for your wife. Don't tell him what he should do, just explain where everything is. (Maybe a few simplifying suggestions). Financial institutions are experienced with dealing with sudden deaths, just be sure everything is joint with survivorship. Update your instructions every quarter (or whatever), PRINT them off on paper, put them in an envelope (not sealed) with the checkbook or in some other obvious place. Who knows, at some point your wife may decide to look inside the envelope and start asking questions.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 01:39 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 8,863
I am always amazed that some women take this attitude . Most of us will be widows and it's much easier to figure it out pre widowhood then when you are in the fog that occurs after this event and brings out all kinds of unscrupulous leeches who love to sucker widows. Do her a favor and write everything down including phone numbers,contact people and passwords then buy her " Investing for dummies " or an equally simple book . She may surprise you and read it especially when she sees her friends becoming widows.
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 01:52 PM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 492
I used to do all the finances but recently I "trained" my wife and now she does most with minimal assistance from me. Among the things we do, that might be of help to your wife: I have a password-protected spreadsheet titled "All Our Finances" that has everythng she needs to know - a/c #'s, websites, how much $ in various accounts etc. We also set up a simple document that details the various bills we get, how we get them (mail vs email) , how they are paid(electronic or check). She has become adept at it now. If you think it may be of help, I can send you a template.
__________________
mystang52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 02:55 PM   #15
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Traveling...
Posts: 15,234
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTravlin View Post
I'm curious to know what ages the two of you are.
About 6 years ago I freaked out my kids when I started sending them a pdf listing of all our accounts every year (no usernames and passwords). Fact was that they had long since left home and we were both traveling a lot together.

Point is, one or both of us could die or be killed at any time.

In 2001 that happened to our best friends in Baton Rouge, the husband dropped dead at age 60, and DW realized that like our friend, now widowed, she didn't know anything about our investments finances so we talked a lot. A few weeks later LSU held courses on personal finances and retirement so we signed up and attended together.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 03:16 PM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 33,926
Here is a great post from a similar thread way back in 2004. I give each of my adult daughters and my spouse a copy of this letter each January - with instructions to not open it unless...

Letter: In the event of death or incapacitation

I also include a separate letter outlining how we (I) manage our income and what I recommend my spouse do with our her portfolio should I predecease her (pssst - Wellesley). I'm hoping the daughters (one is a CPA) can help their mom manage the nest egg and avoid major financial mistakes. But then, it won't be my problem, will it?
__________________
Numbers is hard...



REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 03:17 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
frayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: 19th Hole
Posts: 1,652
This is probably more of a problem than most of us would like to admit. My wife does wonderful job handling the day to day finances, checking account, bill paying, etc. As for as investing she is pretty much clueless and wants to remain that way. I have my investment accounts pretty much structured and postured like I want them, regardless if I was here or not with the exception of annual re-balancing. 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. I believe by that time she is smart enough and would be motivated enough to take more of an interest. She knows I am an indexer through and through and my philosophy on age equaling a percentage one should have in fixed income (within reason). Probably not the best plan by any means but I don't lay awake at night worrying about what is going to happen when I am not here.
Plus I have a son in close proximity that I know would be a good resource if she felt she needed any guidance.
__________________
The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.
frayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 03:28 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Here is a great post from a similar thread way back in 2004. I give each of my adult daughters and my spouse a copy of this letter each January - with instructions to not open it unless...

Letter: In the event of death or incapacitation

I also include a separate letter outlining how we (I) manage our income and what I recommend my spouse do with our her portfolio should I predecease her (pssst - Wellesley). I'm hoping the daughters (one is a CPA) can help their mom manage the nest egg and avoid major financial mistakes. But then, it won't be my problem, will it?
Good letter. It reminded me of some things.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 03:31 PM   #19
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: ST LOUIS
Posts: 811
Investments put it all into a Vanguard target fund. Set up so much a month to go into your local checking account. Taxes hire that done local it will be more than the computer program but worth it for her. Paying bills she can do it the old way by mail. This is not a big deal with the taxes and bill paying. Doing this with your investment may cost you in taxes but you will have the peace of mind that she is not getting taken. If you had time this could be all set up before your death. This is easy because it would only be Vanguard and a local credit union.
__________________
Proverbs 15:22 Designs are brought to nothing where there is no counsel: but where there are many counsellors, they are established.
rec7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2011, 03:41 PM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
BTravlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Identical to our situation; when it comes to finance, he is like the Chairman of the Board, while I am CEO, CFO, CTO, and CIO combined! It just evolved that way because of our different personalities. He is very intelligent and would do just fine (after a period of utter panic, of course) if I left the scene.

Amethyst
I don't mind doing it at all and am comfortable that she could handle things just fine if need be. I always discuss any changes I'm going to make with her but she just defers those decisions to me. At least I've explained my thought processes to her so that she sees the reasoning behind it and I think that will serve her well some time down the road.
__________________

__________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
(In other words, no whining!)
BTravlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ignorant Question F-One FIRE and Money 3 03-15-2011 04:27 AM
One Spouse ER, the Other Not? flyfishnevada Life after FIRE 20 09-06-2010 06:43 PM
Ignorant European Elites Fume At Markets haha FIRE and Money 52 05-10-2010 07:58 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:39 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Early Retirement News right to your Email!

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news to your inbox!

unsusbcribe at anytime with one click

Close [X]