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What's the best way for a couple to keep in financial contact... your tips wanted

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
46 replies 15.8K views
MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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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.
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Replies

  • 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.
  • GloomendoomGloomendoom Forumite
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    We talk to each other.

    Important documents are filed in a cabinet under appropriate headings.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
  • fairy_lightsfairy_lights Forumite
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    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.
  • MadbagsMadbags Forumite
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    We talk to each other.

    Important documents are filed in a cabinet under appropriate headings.


    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.
  • FBabyFBaby Forumite
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    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.
  • 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.
    You didn't, did you? :rotfl::rotfl:
  • 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.
  • edited 11 October 2016 at 3:15PM
    PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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    edited 11 October 2016 at 3:15PM
    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.
  • LameWolfLameWolf Forumite
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    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).;)
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.;)
  • PeacefulWatersPeacefulWaters Forumite
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    Peter333 wrote: »
    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.
    The partner has no rights whatsoever over the deceased's sole name accounts if there's no will saying otherwise.
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