A few months ago the husband of a close friend literally dropped dead while she was at work. Incredibly tragic!!! He was way too young, but there it was…
Walking with her as she went through the next days and months brought home to me in a real way this question, “Would I be as knowledgeable about what to do if something should happen to my spouse?” I’m afraid the answer would probably be a qualified “no.”
Truth be told, I REALLY don’t like handling finances. It doesn’t come easily to me so I’d really rather ignore it. Plus being married to someone who DOES enjoy it made it easy for me to leave everything to him for our 34 years of marriage. Ironically, it was because my friend did know what to do that made me feel like I need to get my act together.
When I retired last year, Jim, in his foresight, convinced me to take responsibility for paying the household bills, so now I know the account numbers and passwords to various bank, credit card, and other accounts. Plus I have a good sense of which bills are due when.
We also have a proposed household budget against which I compare our actual spending each month (or thereabouts), using Quicken. That gives me a good idea of where our money goes. It also gives me the opportunity to provide input into how to change our spending habits, for example, to spend a little more on travel or a little less on eating out.
However, sheepishly I confess that there is more I should know about. I know one of our lawyer’s names, but is that the person who did our will? I know the name of the financial institution where some of our investments are, but what about the others? Do I know the account numbers and what types of accounts they are? Jim and I are going to work on that next.
Now that I personally have a fixed income and given my age, I really should take a greater interest in our finances and how they are invested. Even if I were to use an investment advisor, I still should know enough to monitor his/her actions. Plus, people like me often become victims of scam artists looking to take advantage of our lack of knowledge and experience.
Perhaps you’d like to take this journey with me as I try to learn more about managing my investments…
Let me know what you think. Join in the conversation… Let me know your ideas for making money management tasks more ummm…..manageable. Jim has some thoughts here, but we’d like to hear yours.
Yvonne Lee Tso
IBSS guest blogger