Shawn, a subscriber and frequent commenter here at Clever Dude, as well as a personal friend of the Clever Dude and Dudette will be posting occasional guest articles. You can read his introduction here.
Clever Dude has written several posts about making sure you and your spouse are both involved in household finances (like joint accounts). My wife and I recently saw a news story about a man that was in a coma caused by a car accident. This man handled all of the finances for the household, so the wife had no idea what bills to pay and when. It was a very sad story.
But, it got me thinking — Shawn, you idiot, you do the same thing. My wife and I realized that, if something were to happen to me, she wouldn’t know where to begin. I decided right then to change things. Here are a few of the items I decided to do to change the situation.
- I needed to communicate. I found that I would just pay the bills and never tell the wife what I paid and when I paid it. She put her trust in me that I was paying the bills on time (which I was). However, this is a two way street. Once I make the changes to include her, she then needs to make the additional effort to stay engaged in the process. This is a huge change for both of us, and good communication is essential.
- I created a new email address that forwards to both myself and my wife. I then updated all of our online accounts to use this email address instead of just mine. This allows us both to see important communications. Although paperless billing is a great way to reduce the clutter in your mailbox, if only one of you gets the emails, you’re totally cutting the other person out of the process.
- I downloaded KeePass (see a good review here) and entered in the information for all of our online accounts. Having all of this information in one secure place will ensure that, if something were to happen to me, she’s not having to rummage through drawers or call creditors to get the appropriate information.
- I need to create a spread sheet that lists all of our current expenses. This will include what the expense is, how to pay it, how often it’s due and the amount to pay. This spreadsheet will go hand-in-hand with the KeePass file.
- I need to educate. I take for granted the fact that I have been paying all of the bills for many years. I now have to make sure that I teach my wife how to use all of the tools I’m putting in place.
These are just the first steps I’ve identified to having a 100/100 involvement in the household finances.
Are there any things that you do to ensure that you and your spouse are equal partners in the finances?