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Confessions of a Spouse Who Wants to Avoid Managing Money

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


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Jim Tso wants to “give back” and share his 35+ years of successful personal money management experience to help others to achieve their financial goals. Jim created this InvestBetterSpendSmarter blog (IBSS) to provide you with free investing, planning, savings, retirement, and inspirational tips derived from his unique, innovative, and proven approaches to money management. He welcomes and appreciates your feedback.

Jim would also appreciate it if you would kindly share our IBSS website and blogs with your family, friends, and business associates. Thank you!

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  5. curator September 25, 2013 at 9:58 am -

    Thank you, Susan and Terry, for your comments. It’s so much easier to put off things like this… Glad we could give a little “nudge” in the right direction!

  6. Terry Green September 25, 2013 at 9:23 am -

    Very interesting post! Every spouse should take the time to be informed regarding important info abut their shared investments, holdings, etc. Your letter spoke to me and gave me a push to get this done. While I have been solely responsible for household expenses, my own investments, etc. for many years, now there is much more going on in our joint financial realm. My husband has made a comprehensive list of pertinent information for me to refer to should “anything happen” to him. But I must confess I’ve barely glanced at it. Now you have inspired me to study and learn. (As you know, some of us would rather go work with clay, and put off all that other stuff!) Now is the time. Years ago a good friend of mine lost her husband suddenly (at age 42!) and she was completely clueless re: finances; my husband went over and taught her some very basic things, like how to write a check! Imagine drowning in a sea of confusion at a time when one is grieving a great loss! OK I didn’t mean to write a book here, but just want you to know you have inspired me to get into gear regarding financial responsibilities! p.s. Great picture! Terry

  7. Susan September 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm -

    Yvonne, I feel just the way you do about finances. I know that I need to learn what our investments are and where they are and how to get to them.
    I think that what I need is a list from my spouse of where, how much and how to get it if I need it. I too worry that something could happen to him and I would be lost. I would be lost anyway, but lost and worried about money on top of that would be unbearable.
    Thank you for causing me to think of this troubling problem.

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