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Old 12-04-2020, 03:21 PM   #21
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Almost in the same boat with DH. He knows where everything is, knows our long term plan.
If he outlives me, the plan is for DS and DD to assist, and they both are aware.
DS is book smart, DD is street smart, so together they can oversee and give solid financial and practical advice.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:21 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by misanman View Post
Same for me - DW's interest in money is strictly on the disbursement side. The FA at Fidelity is nice enough but I wouldn't necessarily trust him not to get her in a managed account with some nice fees. Not sure what to do.
I would agree, but if she is taken care of and the $$ she needs then I’m ok with that.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:39 PM   #23
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Similar situation here. DW has no interest in the managing aspect, so I have to just about drag her to the keyboard a couple of times a year to re-familiarize her with what's going on.

Her response, which is correct, is that she's a smart person who will be able to pick it up quickly if necessary, and in the meantime she trusts me to do what's right. Can't argue with that (she's smarter than I am) so I'm content with it.

As we age, things may look different than they do today, and in that case I've recommended that she turn it over to Fidelity or Schwab (we have accounts at both). With our pensions and SS income, it's pretty much just for discretionary spending anyway.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:48 PM   #24
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Similar boat (this thread sounds like a broken record)... She has never shown any interest in knowing about, learning about or dealing with our finances... I finally got her to open her own checking account when she started getting SS payments. In recent years I have consolidated our accounts to make it as simple as possible... Also, verified DW is beneficiary/POD/etc on "my" accounts like IRA's, 401K etc. Of course joint accounts are already covered.

I have the details (and I keep them up to date) of accounts/balance/etc on paper in the safe and I talk to her from time to time on "what she should do" if I kick the bucket first... If enough of that doesn't sink in and she needs help, I told her to call our lawyer... She'll need to work with him at tax time anyway... No way she'd even try that on her own!

Reminds me a little of the "you can lead a horse to water" thread.
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:05 PM   #25
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I have no suggestions, but instead a caution. Whatever you leave in place for your surviving spouse, try to make sure there’s instructions to get a second opinion from a trusted family member or friend.

There are a couple of clients who come to have taxes done at the AARP TaxAide site where I volunteer. In each case, their husband set them up with a financial advisor to help after his death. In each case, the woman has loyalty to the advisor because “my husband set this up to look after me”. And in each case, the advisor is churning the brokerage account to his benefit.

One year a brokerage statement showed the money moving between three investments, 200 times during the year. Of course, with a fee per transaction. Any growth of the account was eaten up by fees, yet there were taxes to be paid on those capital gains. The poor old lady was distraught that she owed taxes because she didn’t take any withdrawals (which in her mind meant that she didn’t make any money). She was barely keeping even after fees. The advisor was doing well for himself.

We aren’t allowed to give financial advice (beyond tax matters) to the tax clients, so we can’t tell the old ladies to dump the advisor. But in each case I did ask if there is a family member who could help her make some decisions regarding the account.
That’s exactly what I would be worried about. Fortunately DH is a DIYer, even though I manage all the investments. He’s generally familiar enough with our holdings and my investment approach.

I’m working hard to simplify investments for both of us as we age. My concern is more about when I am 75, 80. And who do I get to do billpaying? No children.
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:30 PM   #26
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There are decent (by reports) FA's out there that manage for a fixed fee of a few K$ per year. Few means $3-10K.
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A simplification?
Old 12-04-2020, 05:17 PM   #27
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A simplification?

I wonder about giving spouse a below taxable gift amount ( this imagines an unmarried partner) for her to open small positions in 3 or 4 Fidelity mutual funds. A money market, a diversified US stock fund, a diversified foreign stock fund and perhaps anything else that seems attractive to you for the long term. Advise upper and lower limits. There would be many details, but with even a modicum of commitment it should be easy enough.

Ha
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Old 12-04-2020, 05:21 PM   #28
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My wife worries that if I die, she has no one to turn to for financial advice. She has no interest in learning to manage our portfolio herself, although we try to review everything periodically.
A QTIP trust may be appropriate for some married folks in this situation. I've seen one of these work firsthand. When the grantor spouse dies, the surviving spouse becomes the beneficiary of the QTIP trust. In the case I'm familiar with, the co-trustees are a bank trust department and the surviving spouse. An alternative arrangement could have the bank as sole trustee, although this gives a lot of power to the bank! When the surviving spouse dies, the bank distributes the QTIP trust assets in accordance with the trust agreement. When the QTIP trust is operational, the bank will charge an annual management fee. In some cases, the peace of mind of knowing that the surviving spouse's finances are being watched over by a professional (at least in part) will be worth the annual fee - YMMV.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:54 PM   #29
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I've been thinking the last few years that we might be best served by having a FA work with us especially my wife if I should predecease her, as my DW is really much less interested that I am in our personal finances. Nonetheless, I'm fairly convinced that she'll do just fine, especially if I simplify and consolidate all our personal financial accounts, provide some guidance to odd-ball situations, and let our children know of some of our major assets to help out if necessary. We also manage an Irrevocable Trust set up by my MIL for BIL (and MIL's grandchildren) and we manage the health care and personal finances of BIL in an assisted living facility. We had planned to loop in our children about most of our future financial plans, which includes the likelihood of moving into a CCRC in 4-6 years and selling some family-owned investment property, but Covid-19 screwed up our family retreat and pow-wow that we had planned for the Spring. Our children are successor trustees and beneficiaries for our estate plans, anyway.

I think there might be a tendency for those of us that have the lead in managing personal finances to under estimate the resilience that our surviving spouses might have in wading alone through life. I thought when my mother lost my dad that she would be completely lost, especially since she had a 4th grade education, relied solely on my dad for all finances, never used a checking account, and now found herself managing an apartment building that provided 80 percent of her living income. She did amazingly well after 27 years of doing this essentially all on her own, with some help from her children.

My MIL was in a similar boat when she lost her husband of many years -- we actually had to show her how to pump gas in her car and manage credit card payments. But she did well, and took some investment advice from us many years ago, which we came to realize when setting up her Irrevocable Trust.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:27 PM   #30
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My wife also has no interest in it but I think if I go first our son, who is next in our Trust, could help her or, if she choose to, FA will do the job.
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:00 PM   #31
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My DW also has zero interest in what we have, where we have it, and how it earns money for us. Over the next decade or so, I am thinking that I might put together an annuity ladder to take care of her in case of my early demise. We are still not sure if we can trust DSIL to manage money for her. Neither DS nor DD have the maturity required to handle our portfolio, and DSIL would be the best choice in that scenario. That’s why I’d like to make it as automatic as possible, without giving up too much short term. The annuities would be for her to have a reasonably comfortable life, but it would not be enough for the life we enjoy today. She’d still have the rest of the portfolio, but if she happened to blow it, or if the kids didn’t help her manage it appropriately, she’d still have the necessities and would not have to resort to eating cat food.

I might add that even if I outlive her, in my late years, this is also a good plan for me, in case i lose my financial sensibilities.
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:33 AM   #32
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Similar situation here. DW has no interest in the managing aspect, so I have to just about drag her to the keyboard a couple of times a year to re-familiarize her with what's going on.

Her response, which is correct, is that she's a smart person who will be able to pick it up quickly if necessary, and in the meantime she trusts me to do what's right. Can't argue with that (she's smarter than I am) so I'm content with it.

As we age, things may look different than they do today, and in that case I've recommended that she turn it over to Fidelity or Schwab (we have accounts at both). With our pensions and SS income, it's pretty much just for discretionary spending anyway.
This sounds similar to my situation but we are starting to get up there in age already. DW is a retired attorney and could easily manage the portfolio but isn't interested. I go over everything with her every year or so and have a detailed document outlining actions on death. She dragged our son over to go over everything so he can be a second set of eyes or take over completely if she (or both of us) become addled. DD is also clued in and shares responsibility with DS in the POAs but she prefers that he take the lead on financial issues.
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:57 AM   #33
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I've often heard people say that they have given the username and password to their accounts to their loved ones in case the pass away, but I wonder how useful that is?

First of all, it is illegal for someone to pretend to be you and use your account credentials to take any action as you after you are dead. And yes that applies to your beneficiaries, and yes that applies to someone with a durable power of attorney because the power of attorney dies when you die.

Second, as soon as your account providers find out that you are dead they are going to freeze your account so those account credentials won't be any good anymore.

I suppose your heirs could use the account credentials to log in and see the account information without taking any action before they notify the account holders (and assuming the account provider does not find out that you are dead from another source) and that may be beneficial, but you could accomplish the same thing simply by giving your heirs the contact information for the account provider and making sure they know your SSN and birthday and have a general idea of what accounts are with which provider. I think that's all they need anyway.


Sometimes we are incapacitated and unable to make our own decisions. Someone you trust should have a POA and access to your accounts.
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Old 12-05-2020, 08:01 AM   #34
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I was thinking the same thing. I have accessed online accounts for which I am a POA using the owner's credentials... perhaps not totally kosher, but it works and much easier than presenting the POA to the service provider and having them grant me online access based on the POA.

For other accounts where I am a secondary joint owner I just register and set up my own log in credentials.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:07 AM   #35
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DW listens when I teach, but I do not know how much sticks. I work in healthcare and yesterday developed a fever and cough. Today I will be writing very specific instructions on how to access and move money. I guess this info will also be pertinent to DDs if.......
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:33 AM   #36
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Man, this is an interesting very important topic to say the least. My wife has taken care of the bills and cash accounts through the years. She also has her own 401K and her own accounts she takes care of. She is very conservative on her AA accounts but does a great job. I know she wouldn't want to do any part of managing more and not sure I would be comfortable with her doing so, anyway.

I actually dislike handling my portfolio and doing financial matters also. That is why I do nothing and have done very well IMO on growth and gains over the years.

Having said all of that, I'm going to have someone do all of the financial work at sometime down the road to cover for who ever dies first. I sure don't want the bother of the extra stress as I get older even if I was the last to go.

Good luck in the advise you are receiving and I will be following this thread closely.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:33 AM   #37
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I have accessed online accounts for which I am a POA using the owner's credentials... perhaps not totally kosher, but it works and much easier than presenting the POA to the service provider and having them grant me online access based on the POA.
I think it's kosher for you to access the owner's accounts if you have a POA so long as they are alive, I was referring to accessing accounts after the owner passes.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:36 AM   #38
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Sometimes we are incapacitated and unable to make our own decisions. Someone you trust should have a POA and access to your accounts.
Fair point. I was referring to accessing the owner's accounts after the owner passes.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:36 AM   #39
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DD#1 is a CPA, lives nearby and is prepared to manage our finances if I lose it or am the first to go.
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:14 AM   #40
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Back when we were in our early 40s several of DW's friends lost their husbands through death our divorce, and were plunged into financial hardship. She became worried about what would happen to her and our kids if I died. I showed her then how I had se things up so that, if I died, she would not lose the house and could choose if she wanted to work. She was very happy and began to take interest in our finances.

Her biggest challenge is that she does not have a math/finance brain - She can tell you anything you want to know about world history, is fluent in several languages, including difficult (to Americans) languages like Chinese and Russian, can read and play music, but cannot add 1+1. She knows about and has access to our investments, but would not remember what is in each account. For now I just make sure to continue to simplify our investments and financial picture, review things with her at least on a quarterly basis, verify that she can access the accounts on her own, and set up our cash, pension, and SS so that if I die first she will not have any cash flow issues for a couple of years and have no forced need to make any changes to the investments. The idea of a FA I have though about; since the majority of our investments are with Fidelity and Vanguard I am investigating those vehicles for her for the long run; I suspect dealing with RMDs she will need help with.

Her bigger challenge with not be dealing with the investments. It will be some of her "shady" relatives who have backed off due to my presence. They may come around after I am gone looking for her to finance their desires, and she has a harder time being forceful than I do.
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