Friday, January 9, 2009

Who writes the checks?

Many married couples have continually argued about money during their marriage -- who earns the most, how to spend it, how much to save. Just because you're older, doesn't mean that the 2 of you have gotten wiser about how to manage your money.

In fact, if you're retired and living on a fixed-income you might even have more money problems than ever!

What concerns me most about money management and retired Boomer women is the fact the whoever writes the checks is usually the one who has control of the money. In many traditional marriages , the man has had total control of the checkbook and other financial records; so, the wife doesn't know where they stand financially.

60, suddenly single, financially strapped -- That's where you'll be if you don't get involved in the process of managing the marital money.

I'd like to encourage you to have a frank discussion with your husband regarding your finances. You need a financial snapshot of exactly what you have right now in January 2009 and where the financial records are located.

Some critical documents to have include: monthly pensions (what portion of it do you get if he dies first and how do you claim it); 401Ks, other IRAs, interest income, insurance policies, your will, deed to your home, income tax returns, computer passwords to your accounts and your monthly expenses. Get a binder with clear plastic pockets and put everything together in one place.

I know it's a tough topic. Some people just don't like to discuss money. Most spouses don't want to have that "when I die" conversation, but just do it this weekend and get it over with. Taking the time to have that 'talk' is a very loving gesture because it helps ensure your spouse can handle things when you're gone.

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