There was a good article a few weeks ago on how the typical family manages their finances. Main point being both spouses really should know what the other is doing and what the cash flow situation looks like even if one is in charge of handling the day to day transactions. When this is not the case, problems can arise when transitions happen such as death or divorce.
Steps to take include:
- make a list of all assets – not just investment assets! Include other things like airline miles, hotel points, vacation timeshares.
- Have usernames and passwords stored somewhere in a safe place in the event something happens.
- make a list of all beneficiaries for all retirement accounts and insurance policies. Are these beneficiaries current?
- instructions on where the emergency fund is and how to access it.
- list all compensation for each spouse. This would include stock options, deferred comp, etc.
- proposed order for how assets should be tapped in the event of emergencies and retirement.
This is all good advice because there are times when I see that only one spouse has knowledge of all of this and they put the other spouse at risk in the event something ever happens to them. A lot of this can now be done online in a secure portal such as what we use with our clients.