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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 11th Oct 16, 12:40 PM
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    MSE Martin
    What's the best way for a couple to keep in financial contact... your tips wanted
    • #1
    • 11th Oct 16, 12:40 PM
    What's the best way for a couple to keep in financial contact... your tips wanted 11th Oct 16 at 12:40 PM
    Over 60% of couples say one person deals with all the home's money issues. If you're reading this, you may be that one.

    Yet, I'll never forget three women coming to speak to me, by chance one after another, after an Ideal Home show talk. All were 40-50s, all had lost their husband in the last few months, and all were desperate; "I'm in dire straits, where do I start?"

    Their partners had 'saved' them from dealing with the finances, but that kindness was now a curse, heaping financial misery on grief, leaving them unequipped for a future on their own. One whose husband was will-less, couldn't access 'his' money to pay the mortgage. And this isn't a gender issue, it happens to all.

    So I always suggest creating a financial factsheet naming all product providers - from roadside recovery to investments, boiler cover to bank accounts. Keep it somewhere safe, but don't put too many security details in just in case. Then have a kitchen table briefing every few months to update and discuss.

    Yet I'd love to know how you make sure everyone is informed, and knowledgable about what's happening with the family money?
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
Page 1
    • Dill
    • By Dill 11th Oct 16, 1:16 PM
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    Dill
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:16 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:16 PM
    A close relative of mine was widowed suddenly, and like the people you mention, she also had very little idea about their finances, because he had done it all. It all got horrendously complicated, as he died intestate and his finances were not in a good state.

    For me and OH, - I think our finances are simple compared to most people's (no mortgage, no car, etc) We rent a property and we just have the bills to think about, really. Bills and documents are kept in a folder.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 11th Oct 16, 1:22 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:22 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:22 PM
    We talk to each other.

    Important documents are filed in a cabinet under appropriate headings.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • fairy lights
    • By fairy lights 11th Oct 16, 1:26 PM
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    fairy lights
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:26 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:26 PM
    If both halves of a couple don't take the time to discuss their finances then they've only got themselves to blame if it all goes tits up.
    • Madbags
    • By Madbags 11th Oct 16, 1:47 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    Madbags
    • #5
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:47 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:47 PM
    We talk to each other.

    Important documents are filed in a cabinet under appropriate headings.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom

    I do tend to take it upon myself to deal with a lot of the finances in our house but we also talk and have a well organised filing cabinet and all of our household commitments go through a joint account where we both have access.


    We also have a black notebook for contacts with all the companies we deal with i.e. utility, council etc. with the phone numbers, account numbers and general information needed in case one of us can't for whatever reason sort things out.


    I should mention we're both under 30 so not expecting either of us to drop dead any time soon but it is definitely good to keep records.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 11th Oct 16, 1:53 PM
    • 14,334 Posts
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    FBaby
    • #6
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:53 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Oct 16, 1:53 PM
    There are two issues here. Not knowing any details about finances: that's easy, just print and file everything where both can access. The other most important issue though is keeping uneducated about financial management and relying solely on one's partner. Everyone should take responsibility to educate themselves and if the choice is take the easy route to ignore it and let yourself be 100% dependent on someone else, then accept that you will find yourself very vulnerable if they are suddenly not there any longer.
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 11th Oct 16, 2:23 PM
    • 1,720 Posts
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    Peter333
    • #7
    • 11th Oct 16, 2:23 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Oct 16, 2:23 PM
    Thanks Martin.

    Me and my lady missus do do things together, and have a joint bank account. I think both of us would cope OK (financially) if the other one went suddenly.

    This is one of the reasons having joint finances is very important IMO. If it's all separate, then the partner left is not going to be able to access the deceased person's money or assets.

    And I'm happy to be corrected here, but if the couple are not married, and have separate bank accounts, I'm pretty sure that extended family members (like siblings and parents) have as much right to the deceased person's money as their partner. (If they had separate bank accounts.)

    And yeah, regarding everything else, we have files where bills and account numbers - for energy suppliers and council tax and suchlike are kept, so if one of us suddenly died, the other would know what to do.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
    • Stevie Palimo
    • By Stevie Palimo 11th Oct 16, 2:27 PM
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    Stevie Palimo
    • #8
    • 11th Oct 16, 2:27 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Oct 16, 2:27 PM
    Me and my OH do things from a joint account and I input money into it and she retracts it from the same account, Does this count ?

    I have a few printouts listing all the bills that are paid, all my login details for the different things and so on, This is stored away from prying eyes though.
    " I refuse to censor myself because it may offend someone. If you don't like me that's ok, I don't need your approval. "
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 11th Oct 16, 3:10 PM
    • 7,058 Posts
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    Primrose
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 16, 3:10 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 16, 3:10 PM
    My husband deals with domestic bills from a joint account and I look after our savings. I have compiled on the computer a list of all our utility providers, savings account numbers, details when savings bonds come up for renewal, etc. and also keep a hard copy in the filing cabinet. I try to update this once a year over the Christmas downtime as changes always need to be updated, ie we regularly change our gas and electricity providers and these accounts are now dealt with online so not so accessible.

    I also send an updated copy of this to our solicitor who is our executor in the unfortunate event that we are both killed together in a car accident. He also has a set of our house keys in the event that access to the house is required in that event.

    It's surprising actually how regularly some of your domestic financial details can change. You don't always think of them as noteworthy at the time so an annual revision of your list is a good discipline to adopt, especially when things fixed term savings accounts/bonds or ISAs are held , mature, and are rolled over somewhere else.
    Last edited by Primrose; 11-10-2016 at 3:15 PM.
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 11th Oct 16, 4:32 PM
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    LameWolf
    Everything's on very easy-to-administer spreadsheets. And my filing system is logical, easy to use, and kept up to date.

    If I were to kick the bucket tomorrow (yes, I do the day-to-day running of our finances) Mr LW would easily be able to pick it all up and run with it, as I make him sit down with me every so often to "update him on how it all stands" (ie ensure he's remembered how I do it, and why I do it that way).
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 11th Oct 16, 5:41 PM
    • 5,066 Posts
    • 6,090 Thanks
    PeacefulWaters
    Thanks Martin.

    Me and my lady missus do do things together, and have a joint bank account. I think both of us would cope OK (financially) if the other one went suddenly.

    This is one of the reasons having joint finances is very important IMO. If it's all separate, then the partner left is not going to be able to access the deceased person's money or assets.

    And I'm happy to be corrected here, but if the couple are not married, and have separate bank accounts, I'm pretty sure that extended family members (like siblings and parents) have as much right to the deceased person's money as their partner. (If they had separate bank accounts.)

    And yeah, regarding everything else, we have files where bills and account numbers - for energy suppliers and council tax and suchlike are kept, so if one of us suddenly died, the other would know what to do.
    Originally posted by Peter333
    The partner has no rights whatsoever over the deceased's sole name accounts if there's no will saying otherwise.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 11th Oct 16, 10:36 PM
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    trailingspouse
    I deal with all the finances for both our personal money and our business. But this is just because my OH is too busy/not interested/trusts me, not because he wouldn't be perfectly capable if he needed to do it. We discuss major decisions and I keep him informed on a regular basis.

    I worry more about how I would cope without him when it comes to things like tech - I think I would have to go back to using a quill pen. And yes, I totally agree with a previous poster who suggested it's up to us to educate ourselves - it's just easier to let him do it as no sooner have I got my head around a new piece of tech it's outdated and I have to start again.
    Last edited by trailingspouse; 11-10-2016 at 10:45 PM.
    • Mrs_Ryan
    • By Mrs_Ryan 11th Oct 16, 11:03 PM
    • 9,601 Posts
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    Mrs_Ryan
    OH has severe mental health problems and without me would be lost. I run his bank account online for him, organise all payments etc- I don't think he has any idea how much any of the utility bills actually are although he knows all suppliers. Last time he tried to do it himself he got into such a mess that he has said he's not going to attempt it again- he had massive mortgage arrears, massive bank charges... Since I took it over he's had no such issues, his biggest problem is a large (but unused) overdraft.
    The unfortunate thing is, if something were to happen to me he couldn't run the finances himself and he's got no-one to do it for him- he doesn't even know his bank account number, only the name of the bank he banks with. I'm only 36 so unlikely to shuffle off this mortal coil at any point soon but having had non-terminal cancer I may consider making a list of everything OH would need to know if anything happened. I'm not bothered about anyone accessing my account as there's bog all in it and I've no assets to worry about
    What am I letting myself into Proud sponsor of a prop for the 16/17 season- welcome Mr W
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    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 11th Oct 16, 11:05 PM
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    • 1,770 Thanks
    Robisere
    We have a joint account and share information about all financial matters. I usually carry out banking online, but my wife is shown everything I buy and all account details are printed out and filed. She is perfectly capable of carrying out all the banking that I do and all important stuff is in a 'black book' that is safely hidden. We both have made wills leaving everything to each other. Surviving parent leaves everything to our ds and dd.

    This has reminded me to make a small change to my own will: I left something to a nephew in memory of his dad my much-missed big brother, but the lad has blotted his copybook by doing something aggressively stupid and libellous. As he is unaware that I made this bequest, he will not know that he is missing out on a family heirloom that is quite valuable. He is nothing like his father.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

    • Clav85
    • By Clav85 12th Oct 16, 7:35 AM
    • 1 Posts
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    Clav85
    Its so important to educate yourself on financial responsibility but easier To some than others. I had to take over the finances twice now due to The hubby being in complete denial over what debt actually is. I think sometimes he believes it's an extension of his pay. The first time I insisted on monthly finance meetings which initially always ended in horrendous arguments. We got to a great stage where I felt We could go back to separate accounts and split bills (before I essentially handled both our earnings) due to a demanding job I stopped focusing on our finances so much and let's just say we are in worse debt than ever before. so now we are back to me handling all money but rest assured the monthly meetings will make a come back. apart from sharing financial decisions and information i believe if you are in charge of someone else's income you are responsible for communicating how that income is being spent.
    • Jasper57
    • By Jasper57 12th Oct 16, 8:27 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Jasper57
    It's never too early to plan ahead
    I'm well-placed to comment on the issue of planning for the future, having lost both parents and an in- law in a care home with dementia. It is absolutely vital to get Lasting Power of Attorney in place, regardless of your age. My father was brilliant at managing his affairs, even at 91, which made the whole issue of dealing with his estate straightforward. I would say that if you have a conversation with a loved one about something/s you want to pass on, please specify in your will. It is not necessarily the valuable stuff which matters most.
    Re: Lasting Power of Attorney :
    There are 2 types- Financial and Health and welfare.
    Decisions such as end of life care usually fall on the spouse, but if there is no-one and it falls to the children, it is a joint decision, most likely the childrens.
    Power of Attorney can be registered with the relevant body (bank, building society, pension provider etc) AT ANY TIME - If YOU WAIT UNTIL THERE IS A CRISIS IT WILL CAUSE DELAYS.
    If a loved one is suddenly taken into hospital , and their spouse has to be taken into care, you won't be able to access their money to pay for it until the POA is registered, which can take weeks. At a time of great distress, this just adds to it. Speak to your older relatives and get their POA registered now, as long as it is not going to change (ie bank/ pension provider).
    Hope this is of help.
    • kieran_01
    • By kieran_01 12th Oct 16, 8:27 AM
    • 16 Posts
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    kieran_01
    I have got all financial details saved on a password protected spreadsheet which is updated regularly.
    Going one step further though - I have already drafted about 20 letters, with account details etc, to advise people of my death. The last thing I want my wife to have to do if I'm gone is to sit down and have to work out who she needs to advise, and copying details across from the spreadsheet. This way she can just date, print, sign and send!
    • Hazelo
    • By Hazelo 12th Oct 16, 8:48 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Hazelo
    Talking and recording
    We have separate bank accounts. Bills are paid from each of them. We have a spreadsheet which lists everything and the date payment is due and we review it every four months. We also have latest paperwork filed and anything done electronically saved to a shared drive. Once it's set up it really doesn't take long and it's a great way of sharing dreams and aspirations and working out budgets to afford them. We also have a will but we are now considering LPA and the the health one just in case either of us has dementia in the future and we perhaps need to pay funeral cost now........as much as I would like to donate my body to scientific research, I don't think it's that easy.
    • totally bonkers
    • By totally bonkers 12th Oct 16, 9:46 AM
    • 10 Posts
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    totally bonkers
    Thank you Martin for instigating this discussion. My OH has refused to get involved with finances since we married 31 years ago! This suits me as a previous marriage nearly cost me my home etc and when we divorced eventually, I swore never, ever to let a man take charge of my finances again. I am pretty organised, but nothing like some of these posters, and it's given me the incentive to make records and push (again!) for LPA's for us both. I'm in my mid 60's now and suffer with quite a lot of ailments and have had many, many surgeries. This and the meds I'm on, has given me terrible 'brain fog', and the daily tasks are much more difficult than they were thirty years ago! We have a fairly complicated financial situation and I know in my heart that my dear husband would not be able to even sort it out, let alone cope with it all!
    So again, thank you Martin and team and all the previous posters - you've made me see the light and I promise to sort it all out ASAP!
    • LittleWing294
    • By LittleWing294 12th Oct 16, 10:04 AM
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    LittleWing294
    Passwords
    Lots of great thoughts here, but I can't see whether anyone has mentioned passwords. A friend's husband died suddenly, and she couldn't even get into his laptop, let alone any financial info.
    Keep the passwords somewhere that you can both access - while, of course, making sure that they are secure from anyone else.
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