With our busy lifestyles most of us divide the workload between our partners so that it is more manageable. “You do the garbage; I will get the groceries.”
What happens if one of us is no longer around and the other has to pick up the slack? It the chore isn’t too difficult then it may be manageable but when the chore requires a bit of back ground knowledge than it can become a nightmare.
What I am really talking about is the financial chores. Paying bills, balancing the cheque book, making sure you have your retirement looked after and your insurance coverage is adequate. Usually and unfortunately only one person from a partnership looks after this chore. In my home it is me and my husband will attest to the fact that at some times he is at a total loss. It wasn’t until recently that he decided that he should become more involved in our financial planning and management just out of the shear fact that if anything happened to me he really would not know where to begin.
So this is where my encouragement comes in. I have seen too many situations where a person is faced with a marital breakdown or their spouse passes away unexpectedly and they do not know if they have enough money or how much money they do have. Sometimes they do not know if they have life insurance or how much they have, or even how to log into their bank accounts online. This can be an extremely scary and vulnerable situation for someone and as technology progresses and more and more things are done electronically and automatically less and less time is spent at a local bank where people know you and can help you out.
So what is my advice?
1. Know everything there is to know about your finances. Don’t rely on your spouse or partner to take care of everything. Make it a joint partnership.
2. Make sure everything that you own and have is in both your names.
3. Be involved in all of the financial planning aspects, know where your money is invested, know how much you owe, how many bank accounts you have. You need to know the insurance coverage on you and your partner and /or your children.
4. Discuss your finances with your partner. Do not let it become a taboo subject. I really feel that any purchases over $100.00 need to be discussed and there should never be any credit cards, limits or loans that are not known by the other. Secrecy is not allowed.
5. Make a cash flow plan together. Take notice of where you are spending money. Pay cash for groceries and other incidentals. Give yourself an allowance so that you aren’t overspending on the day to day things like coffee and lunches. A good cash flow plan can really simplify your life.
6. If you cannot come to an agreement around money, get help. Whether you talk to a financial planner or a money coach or a therapist, it does not really matter as long as you are both comfortable with the person and you can get your finances sorted. Money is such a powerful energy and when you are not in sync it can be very destructive. Asking for help allows a third party to help establish clear agreements and helps you to create a more amicable plan.
Money and finances need to be a joint effort and it is something that both partners must be in full agreement of. You cannot let one person be in control as sooner or later it will become a problem.