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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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    • KBurb
    • By KBurb 14th Oct 16, 7:21 AM
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    I am a single mum with three teenage children. One year ago I created a spreadsheet with contact details (not policy numbers) of all policies, monthly/annual bills and any miscellaneous matters such as driving licence, passport, EHIC card etc.

    I have told my brother, sister and children where the spreadsheet is along with associated paperwork and diarise to update the spreadsheet annually.

    Yes it sounds morbid but a simple checklist of who to contact is a no brainer.

    I also have a will (which I did a few years ago via the Will Aid scheme), Power of Attorney, life insurance and critical illness cover.
    • Andrew Ryan 89
    • By Andrew Ryan 89 14th Oct 16, 9:07 AM
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    Andrew Ryan 89
    Wow, good topic and something I never thought about. My wife knows nothing about the mortgage or our finances. Who insures the car and the house and even whether the latter is insured. Our life insurance and pretty much everything else you could think off.
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 25th Oct 16, 4:27 PM
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    I've insisted MrEH knows what's going on with our finances. he knows how to get into my online banking - I know how to get into his, although neither of us would dream of doing so in normal circumstances. Currently for various reasons the majority of our savings are in accounts in my name - but in the event of anything happening to incapacitate me he could access, and in the event of me passing away everything would fall to him anyway. As a pinch all priority expenditure could be covered by either one of us from our own earnings for a short time in any event - we have no mortgage at the moment.
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    • cheesemason
    • By cheesemason 19th Nov 16, 5:38 PM
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    A bit of a thread resurrection here for some questions please.

    I deal with pretty much all the finances in our house. My wife is pretty savvy on these things, but doesnt really have the time to look after anything, so she doesnt really now much of exactly what we have.

    We have a lot of different products, so need to sort something out like in this thread. We have multiple bank accounts, mutliple pensions, mutliple life insurances policies etc.

    So I know I need something like this but want to do it SAFELY and SECURELY.

    IfI do a spreadsheet, it makes sense to password protect this. How safe is that though, are passwords on spreadsheets crackable? And would you put all the details on the spreadsheet like bank account numbers and policy numbers?

    If you also print out a copy as a back up, if someone got hold of those with the account numbers on, could they do much damage with that info alone (i.e. no passwords etc)?

    And if you didnt put account numbers, policy numbers etc with my info would my wife be able to access these easily or would this make like very difficult?

    Thanks for the advice
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 19th Nov 16, 7:21 PM
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    Cheesmason. I think you have to operate on the basis that if you dropped down dead tomorrow you'd want the information stored simply and understandablly in one place where you wife, who would be a
    in a state of extreme shock, would not need to call in the MI5 codebreakers in to crack it. Because for all your efforts, it would be useless to her. Put a footer on the document to give it a name and show in which folder, etc it is located in on the computer. Print out a copy and keep it in a sealed envelope where you store your other important papers. And check it annually at the beginning of every year and update it. I do this every year. It,s surprising how things change like utility suppliers, new savings accounts, etc.

    Perhaps draw up two spreadsheets. One for domestic providers and suppliers and one for financial financial assets with the following information.

    Providers List
    Gas, Electricity , Water boards, landline & mobile phone suppliers, broadband company, tv licence, contents, building, car insurers, burglar alarm contract, domestic appliance insurers, solicitor (if your Will is held there), credit card provider, etc .

    Against each provider list their address, phone number, email address, how oayment is made (annually, direct debit etc), date when payment/insurance is due, user account number, policy no, etc.

    Financial assets list:
    Morgage provider, address, ohone no, email address, policy number, amount or monthly oayment, when paid
    Life insurance/endowments etc. same information
    Bank account, address, phone no, account no, sort code
    Savings accounts, Same info
    Fixed term accounts . Same info plus any maturity dates
    Pension providers, address, phone number policy number
    ISAs. Same info plus personal reference number or account no.
    Premium bonds. Address, holder nos

    It will take quite a time digging out all your paperwork to put all this information together in one place but if you keep a copy on your computer it's a useful reference document when you have queries with your various providers, having all the info in one place.

    I wouldn't show any passwords, pin numbers on these documents . There are programmes such as Password Safe which will store these safely on your computer . Just make sure your wife knows what the password for that programme is. If necessary keep it in a sealed envelope with your providers lists.

    As for people knowing your bank account numbers, they have access to this information every time you write a cheque!
    Last edited by Primrose; 19-11-2016 at 7:25 PM.
    • securityguy
    • By securityguy 20th Nov 16, 10:41 AM
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    I've been suggesting in the security community, most of whom are young, that "end of life" issues are really serious. So it's not so much online banking details (you shouldn't use other people's after death and banks can sort this out) but all the other stuff which is very difficult to access, because you can't even get the information you need in order to get the access. Systems so that, say, you can leave information with your executors such that two of them acting in concert can access your affairs but they cannot do anything individually, exist, but are esoteric and complex (I implemented one and, upon talking to the mathematician who came up with it, it turned out mine was one of only a few implementations). Systems such that all your executors acting in concert can access your affairs are easier, but what if one of them dies or is unavailable?

    The problem with "write it all down in a sealed envelope" is that things change over time. My current scheme is to keep stuff on an encrypted USB stick and leave the PIN for that with my wife, but it's not ideal.

    The basic problem is that the deaths of the "online generation" are only just starting to happen. In that past, it was easy: there would be paperwork, and if you wanted to eumerate someone's affairs, in the worst case you could simply use postal redirection from their house for a year and wait for the statements. The question "how do you deal with this when they die" isn't high up the priorities of young developers.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 20th Nov 16, 11:28 AM
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    I think security guy makes a very good point about accessing the affairs of people who are moving all their financial administration online, and with the older generation doing it too, as they get closer to their final chapter, they perhaps need to start thinking that "belt and braces" paper back up is a good thing. Paperless executorship is a nightmare. My deceased 92 year old father-in-law embraced technology with enthusiasm but when he died suddenly, my husband had no idea what his computer password was, nor what his online banking pin number was and it turned an already difficult situation into a nightmare as he never kept paper records.

    So I would plead with people not to be too eager to totally embrace paperless financial administration. It's great for the banks and other financial institutions as it saves them time and money, but they are never ready or willing to help you out as a executor when you find yourself on the other end of this equasion. So even if you do online banking, always have a paper statement showing account number details. Always print off a copy of any utility bills, insurance policy payment notifications, etc. which show your information. You don't need to keep a filing cabinet full of stuff. Just the last statement for every provider will be sufficient but such a paper record will save your grieving family or executors a lot of time and frustration.
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