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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.

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    • janiebquick
    • By janiebquick 12th Oct 16, 10:05 AM
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    We found out in March that I am terminally ill. The first thing we did was make new wills and LPAs. The next thing I did was consolidate my financial affairs so they won't have so much to deal with. I must confess that I frittered a bit of money at this point! Then I took out an over 50s plan on the grounds that I only have about two years to live so won't be ripped off. It clearly states in my will that my funeral costs will come out of my estate, so I'm not taking out a funeral plan as well. I have a lsit of financial institutions that I update regularly and email to my oH and children. We also have a box where all important documents are kept and everyone knows where it is.
    'Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.' George Carlin
    • Wednesday2000
    • By Wednesday2000 12th Oct 16, 10:55 AM
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    Lots of helpful information here, thanks. I do most of the finances and think I have to make sure that my DH knows the passwords etc... I think I might buy a safe to keep at home.

    We found out in March that I am terminally ill.
    Originally posted by janiebquick
    Sorry to read that.xx
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    • 4ndy
    • By 4ndy 12th Oct 16, 11:15 AM
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    It is not just the loss of a partner that creates problems.

    My number one tip is resist constant pressure from banks etc. to go paperless. Post arriving after we have gone will be of great assistance to those left behind. In any event, monthly statements probably cost banks at least £25 per account each year, yet they offer nothing to customers for giving them up. I reckon they must be worth at least an iPad or laptop each.

    My second tip is don't lock up access to your email. Passwords can then always be recovered or reset. If you need secrets from your family, open another email account not linked to financial affairs.
    • HughFranklin
    • By HughFranklin 12th Oct 16, 11:30 AM
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    Issues with Divorce

    Just to let others who share finances through a joint account that this has become a nightmare as I go through a divorce as my ex is claiming that I financially abused her as she didn't have control over our money despite us both having equal access to our joint accounts for everything. I never expected this, in fact we used to joke that we didn't need sole accounts like our contemporaries as we shared everything. In reality I don't think she has a leg to stand on here but it is causing me some distress.

    So just a warning you can never be completely sure what will happen so it's worth really making sure that your joint arrangements are transparent and that neither of you are making some or all of the financial decisions without realising it.
    • Judi
    • By Judi 12th Oct 16, 11:32 AM
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    Everything he needs concerning the house is, as i tell him frequently, is in the red folder.

    He's got access to my bank account so i suppose he could find what he needed in the way of direct debit information from there.

    The mobile phone contracts and stuff to do with his self employment, car etc are in files behind me though i wouldnt be able to get into his laptop for the most recent stuff as its password protected but i think i'd have enough information in the files behind me to work stuff out plus the fact his accountant is just next door. It would still take me weeks if not months to sort it out.
    'Holy crap on a cracker!'
    • Faith177
    • By Faith177 12th Oct 16, 12:37 PM
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    I do handle everything originally because it was my house and OH moved in with me so I already had everything in place so was just easier to carry on. OH then lied to me about his debt problems so I took over all his accounts to get him to budget and with a view of him going bankrupt he was then in a car accident and now has severe memory problems so is not able to control finances at all. He knows what needs to be paid but not how much or who to ie water rates.

    I have my big blue box which has EVERYTHING in there each thing has it's own section so there is one for all my work benefits and my life insurance, one for council tax, tv licence ect. Also in there is a detailed document of everything that has to be done on a monthly basis the account numbers who has to be paid the amounts and I regularly update this whenever a change occurs. There also a copy on my computer and on my laptop. I also have all my passwords written down on a secure document so OH can access my email, banking ect

    Also stored in the blue box is a separate document for how to care for our animals what their quirks are, what they eat, their vet details ect. It also has all their microchip stuff, vaccination certs ect. My brother, housemate and Grandparents know this exists so if anything happens to the pair of us our animals will be cared for. I have also made provisions for their expenses for whoever takes them on extreme I know but we don't have children and our animals are our babies. Plus because of the breed of the dog if you didn't know what you were doing they would be trouble

    When my mum died I couldn't thank her enough for telling me where everything was before she passed it was a God send and made sorting her affairs so easy. She even had a spreadsheet of her monthly spending so I could just do down the list and inform each company it took me no time at all. She was a very organised person with regards to her dying as she was widowed at 28 and wanted to always make sure me and my brother were looked after so she documented everything
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    • maman
    • By maman 12th Oct 16, 1:02 PM
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    The partner has no rights whatsoever over the deceased's sole name accounts if there's no will saying otherwise.
    Originally posted by PeacefulWaters
    Which definitely is a good reason for getting wills sorted.

    We used this

    some years back. Although we are married there were particular arrangements we wanted in place.

    There are echoes in this thread of the separate/shared finances thread. I'm very sorry to hear of your extreme case hugh. In our case we have largely separate finances and split monthly bills 50:50 plus savings in our own names as this allows us to take advantage of interest rates. If anything did happen, either of us would be able to manage fine financially until the wills were executed.

    DH and I have the direct debits shared between own accounts for household bills (again for good financial reasons) but the paperwork is all accessible so if anything happened I'm sure if I called the energy company (for example) and offered to pay instead they wouldn't refuse.
    • Sofashopper
    • By Sofashopper 12th Oct 16, 3:40 PM
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    Financial Factsheet.
    As an aging couple we keep our current Financial Factsheet up to date ( Income and expenditure by month and annual) on a pen drive which is kept in a safe place.
    In addition we each have our own widowed Financial Factsheet to work from on the death of our partner, and to ensure financial stability/security in widowship, also kept on the pens stick. Includes all expenditure by month and projected income as individual survivor. Surprising how different they are.

    In case of our mutual deaths our daughter is aware of the location of the pen stick
    • mellymoo74
    • By mellymoo74 12th Oct 16, 4:15 PM
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    My OH has mental health issues, this can lead to overspending on whatever this month's obsession is.

    I have a tracker (excel spreadsheet)
    Keep in close contact with utility companies (currently arranging something with the arrears as OH and myself collapsed, meaning I couldn't work, still arranging benefits)

    He won't do it when he is ill, so it needs to be kept up to date so I at least know where we are at.
    • seejay43
    • By seejay43 12th Oct 16, 4:27 PM
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    I use an Excel spreadsheet (Word table would do equally well) listing all the companies with whom we do business - from bank accounts to utilities and loyalty cards to insurance companies. Each entry contains name, address, customer services telephone number, account or membership number and a brief comment if the entry is not self explanatory - together with a tick box to record that notification of death has occurred. A password protected file of individual account passwords is on the computer with its password in a sealed envelope in a secure location which only my wife knows. It sounds morbid, but I believe pragmatic and helpful is a better description,
    • Dublin Rambler
    • By Dublin Rambler 12th Oct 16, 4:45 PM
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    Dublin Rambler
    As I take care of all finances, I have documented everything and put it on a USB, which my wife hides. I regularly check and update it.
    • jungle_ninja
    • By jungle_ninja 12th Oct 16, 5:02 PM
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    My OH and I both use LastPass to store our passwords. I've also added the account details for all my cards, savings, etc.
    It has a handy feature called Emergency Access whereby you can nominate people that are allowed to request access to your account. You then receive an email to allow you to deny the request - if you don't then they gain access to your account after a period of time you've previously specified.
    • olliebears
    • By olliebears 13th Oct 16, 9:25 AM
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    I keep all our info in a spreadsheet with all the web links etc. built in and save this on a password protected encrypted USB pen. This is kept outside the house in case of fire or theft etc. I cannot get my wife to deal with the money. I am a stroke victim and still she is not happy to take any responsibility. Fortunately we are totally debt free so it's only running costs we pay. We have quite a few accounts and they are set up to move money around for best interest rates. We have wills made and Lasting Power of Attorney. As we know no-one abroad we block all international calls to stop scammers as we are both over 60 we are classed as easy targets for conmen and charities.
    Last edited by olliebears; 13-10-2016 at 9:39 AM. Reason: updated
    • MusicMaker
    • By MusicMaker 13th Oct 16, 12:12 PM
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    It just so happens that I manage everything to do with the finances. That wasn't planned, it just happened because we were so busy with sick kids that it just naturally became easier for one person to manage this aspect of our lives.

    However, we have made an effort to talk to each other so that we both understand what's going on. Traditionally we had a well organised filing cabinet, but with many things being handled on line these days, we've had to adapt.

    We use a spreadsheet to keep track of bills, expenditure etc on a daily basis, so we always know what funds are available to us. This is a Google Spreadsheet which we share. There is a page to enter daily spending, a page for regular income and bills, reminders and information about account numbers for gas, electric etc. Then transactions are checked off as they appear on the online bank accounts.

    The bank account is joint, into which both our wages are paid and all the bills leave. Neither of us have seperate accounts.

    We use credit cards for daily expenditure, again on the same account, all of which is accounted for in the spreadsheet, and this is paid off fully each month.

    All in all we have a system going which works well for us, and I think either of us would be fine if anything happened to the other one.

    I do need to sort a will though as I've realised ours is out of date - only takes into account two children, not three.
    • Poppy3008
    • By Poppy3008 13th Oct 16, 12:36 PM
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    I manage all our finances - my husband has access to our joint accounts as he so desires but he chooses no to. He sometimes has said he feels he needs permission to by anything - I have told him many times, he does not but if he does not know what's in the accounts then he cannot assume there are funds there! I enjoy managing the money - although not so much this month! My hubby has always said he is happy with this arrangement, But I do worry if something suddenly happened to me he would not have a clue. This article has made me realise I need to make a document so he knows where and what everything is. I also need to make a will! I tell him frequently what's where so he knows - not sure he listens.
    • f0xh0les
    • By f0xh0les 13th Oct 16, 1:16 PM
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    I do the gas/electric/council tax/ water bills and the car insurances, he does the mortgage, life assurance, and telephone bill. I tell him who we are with but he doesn't really listen.I have a big black file labelled IMPORTANT STUFF. It is all in my laptop, I send him emails to let him know account numbers and company names. Then he has it on his computer. Also, it helps credit ratings having a regular utility bill coming out, as when we got our mortgage, I have a good rating, he did not exist, even though we have had a mortgage before, and he is in paid employment and I am not, he has no data as he has had his bank account for over 25 years and never switched.
    And I have paid off his overdraft 2 times and he still went back into it. No joint accounts for us!! He does not check his bank balance, even to check if he has been paid! Or if the mortgage has definitely gone out! He is just not bothered, but we are trying to build up his credit rating for when we need to remortgage in 2018.
    We do not have a will!! Must get on with that one.
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    • jess1808
    • By jess1808 13th Oct 16, 1:51 PM
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    I deal with all bills but they come out of the joint account, some bills are in joint names and some just in mine and my OH could probably guess my passwords! Probably be awkward for someone else to sort but at 22 and 24 with no kids to sort I don't tend to think much about it.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 13th Oct 16, 3:09 PM
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    I handle all of the finances simply because my husband is not really interested and only looks after his work expenses account which doubles up as his personal account. His work expenses and personal spends are in the same bank account and he only likes to have one account although he can access our joint main account which has our salaries go into each month and all direct debits beyond a few I put through other current accounts to comply with terms and conditions about direct debits. I have done standing orders for our personal spends as his reluctance to get involved with budgeting means that this is the easiest way of dealing with things so he does not do constant cash withdrawals from our main account leaving it short for direct debits etc. He is not difficult or mean with money just his skills lay in other directions and he tends to just assume the money is there which I do not like. He has occasionally asked for me to bail his personal account out from our joint spends which I have done and as he retires this month I am hoping he will take more of an interest now he will have more time.

    Every 3 months I put a spreadsheet in front of his nose and we chat about large items of expenditure which might be coming up. I have a folder in our safe with all bank account details (there are a lot)and he knows it is in there as I keep telling him and it has passwords etc so he can access them although most are in my name only as he is a higher rate taxpayer and I only pay basic rate. We have wills and all our bills and main credit card are paid by direct debit.
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    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 13th Oct 16, 3:20 PM
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    My OH said the other day he would struggle to deal with all the bank accounts I have as I have opened numerous current accounts and regular savers to get the best interest rate which involves transferring money every month usually, previously by standing order but now OH retires this month I have cancelled these meaning to do them manually until his pension kicks in. He suggested that we simplify things and just have our two personal accounts and a main joint account with £20k in (Santander) and a joint national savings income bonds account for savings (1%). This year I have been moving money around between LLoyds Club, BOS, TSB, TESCO, Nationwide and Santander (our main account) plus regular savers with Nationwide, TSB, FD and Lloyds Club.

    I intend to do a spreadsheet to show the interest differential of using these but do wonder if simplifying things now all these banks are reducing their rates anyway is a better way to go as we get older. I have a stocks and shares ISA with Halifax but he really does not want to get into that anyway but I think he can handle contacting them if anything happened to me.
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    • Ldawson52
    • By Ldawson52 13th Oct 16, 10:36 PM
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    I always dealt with finances but had a spreadsheet for my husband in case anything happened to me. Sadly it was the other way round and he died but I have now shown it to my daughter and told her where to find everything as I don't want her to have problems when I die. I have all my passwords abbreviated so that she knows what they are are but if anyone else found my spreadsheet it would mean nothing to them.
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