Team up to tackle your family finances
While there may be one primary “money manager” in your household, it’s wise for both you and your better half to know your family’s financial big picture.
Here’s how to team up with your spouse so that you’re both comfortable with your family’s financial game plan and know how to handle your budget and bills if the need arises.
- Make it a date. Schedule a time to go over your family finances with your spouse. (No one is allowed to decline this date!) Take stock of your income, expenses, debt, and investments, if any. Get in the habit of sharing this every few months so it stays fresh in your mind, or as your financial picture changes. Put a reminder on your calendar for your money chats -- maybe at a different restaurant or coffee shop each time?
- Get it down. Give each other a thoughtful gift by creating and maintaining a list of account information that you store in a secure online location or a fireproof lock box. (Yep, this gift is a bit on the practical side.) Include account numbers, usernames, security questions, and passwords. Both you and your spouse should know how to access the list and update it when necessary. Putting in the effort to do this now can save heaps of frustration later!
- Think ahead. Make sure to plan for what will happen and who will manage your finances if one or both of you aren’t able to do so — either temporarily or long-term. Consider creating a durable power of attorney so you will have someone in place to pay your bills or make financial decisions if you can no longer do it on your own.
Joining forces with your spouse on family finances can boost your confidence and prepare you for the unexpected. Get started now!
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Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Find tips on protecting your finances during the coronavirus pandemic at www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus.