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« 13 Unconventional Investments, Part 5 | Main | Financial Resolutions for 2006: Sort Out College Savings »

December 15, 2005


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A good strategy for this is to run the household like a business. Keeping track of a basic net worth statement on a monthly or quarterly basis gives most couples an opportunity to confer with one another. It also helps mediate different viewpoints between spenders and savers when you can visualize how a purchase or investment may impact the upcoming net worth summary.

That said, division of responsibility doesn't seem like such a bad thing as long as their is a point of consensus on the big issues.

I saw the title of this post and thought "HAH", like that's going to happen! In our little unit I'm the one that handles the finances and tells my husband to stop spending money. It's so hard to persuade him to cut back and not go to the gas station to buy cigarettes and coffee. How do you ask somebody to cut back on spending when the response is "Don't worry, we've made it through worse"? Any recommedations/advice would be much appreciated.

One sentence you wrote struck me: "Then if something happens to me, she shouldn't miss a beat financially." I used to think that too, but life gets in the way and I can never sit down with her and really dig into the topic. (I'm a 9-to-5er; she's a nurse on a night schedule. So it's very easy for us to find better things to do in the little time we have together than talk finances.)

So I've changed my thinking a little bit. I know that my wife would be completely capable of managing her own finances if I were gone - probably not as passionately and as in-depth as I do, but she would do fine. But surely she would do things differently, to better suit her own depth of understanding, time constraints, etc.

So I've settled for making sure that if I die, rather than just picking up where I left off, she has tools in place so that at least she can understand what I've tried to build for us. She may not manage the checkbook in the same way I do, but I've made my processes clear enough that she can understand and modify to her own tastes. She may not know the ins and outs of our homeowners insurance policy like I do, but my files are well organized so she can get the documents and read them herself. And most importantly, I try to talk to her about my financial philosophies and principles.

At this point in my life, that is good enough for me. There's no doubt in my mind that if I died, it would take an investment of her time to get comfortable with our finances. But I've made her familiar enough that at least now she "knows what she doesn't know" so to speak, and has an understanding of where to go to ask the questions.

Maria -- Maybe you could turn the finances over to him to handle? Or would that be TOTAL disaster?

FMF--We've tried that before and bills didn't get paid. He doesn't seem to realize the effects of spending, which is really odd to me. Seriously, how do I tell a grown man who is contributing half of our family's income to stop buying crap?

I'd give an eyeball if I could convince my wife to login to our online banking and check the account once every day. Yet, I'd probably settle for once a week. She doesn't have to pay any bills or anything like that, and I'm fine with it. But I'd rejoice if she'd just take the effort to look and see what was going on once a week.

She now has her own credit card and hasn't received the first bill yet. I'm going out on a limb and making her responsible for paying the bill. I'm hoping she'll use the online banking, which will require her to at least login to the online banking at least once a month. That would be a good step in the right direction.

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