What Each Spouse Should Know About Finances

A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses the division of labor in families.

In the typical division of labor in many households, one spouse manages the bills and the assets.  This is natural and healthy, financial planners say.  But both spouses should have at least a baseline understanding of the family finances, the experts add—and this seldom seems to be the case.

Just 28% of couples were “completely confident” that either spouse alone was prepared to steer their joint retirement finances, according to a recent study by Fidelity Investments.

Disability, divorce or death can thrust new responsibilities on spouses when they are ill-prepared. But talking about such “what ifs” can stir up uncomfortable questions and issues, so many couples avoid doing so.

“There’s a tendency to say, ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,’ ” says Dorian Mintzer, a retirement-transition coach, speaker and author. Most couples “want to avoid confrontation and don’t want to think about their own mortality,” she says, even though “talking about it can free you up and help you try to plan what’s ahead.”

I was actually happy to see the article because I completely agree with this analysis.  This is exactly the reason we published the book BEFORE I GO.  Get a copy for yourself or someone you love.  If you are a couple like the one described in the WSJ article, create a relationship with an RIA who can help the spouse who is less prepared and can help the survivor cope.

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