Your family’s emotional & physical survival often hinges on financial stability and that makes money management & communication critical. Shared & effective communication about money matters is key in a happy marriage, However, money management in many families takes on defined roles where one spouse takes on the role of being the CFO/Admin person and the other becomes very reliant on that CFO spouse to manage the family finances and keep it all ‘together’. It might work; but it’s a real risk. It can increase the pressure & responsibility that one spouse feels with managing all that information while the other spouse is left dangerously vulnerable.
No matter the reason, it’s not an ideal situation when one spouse manages all the family finance and the other spouse has no info. Life can take unpredictable twists, like a divorce, a death or an incapacity. Many surveys over the years have indicated that talking about family finance helps spouses avoid conflict and can prevent one spouse from feeling like they are carrying more of the burden over time. But Open Communication around finance can apparently also be sexy. A recent Experian Consumer Services survey on Love & Marriage in the US, indicated that 73% of women and 60% of men think that open communication with their spouse or partner about finances makes him or her more attractive. Sadly, the same survey showed that only 39% of married adults were sharing responsibility for their family finances
A Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) Survey indicates that couples that share details about finances are generally happier: (58% versus 30%). In combination with defining your financial goals together, sharing financial information with your spouse will enable you to make wiser choices and reach your mutual financial goals. Here is a list of some of the details that we think are important to document and share with each other: Assets: including bank accounts, registered/non registered investments, real property, personal property & business assets etc. Liabilities—including loans, credit card debt, mortgages, lines of credit, business liabilities etc. Contacts-including medical contacts, professional advisors and family Digital Assets-including loyalty & reward programs, logins & passwords etc. Insurance-including disability, property, life, group as well as home & auto Estate Planning —including Power of Attorneys, Wills, Ethical Wills, Final wishes, Letters etc. Health & Medical—including immunizations, contacts, history etc.
When both spouses have this information at hand or know where to find it will bring peace of mind for both in case a "What if" scenario involving a physical or natural disaster or a death or incapacity were to happen. But, it’s also about living. Simplifying & securing your information together is empowering . Knowing what you have and what you need to work on will help you become more proactive about your financial & estate planning goals. It can help move you forward in all sorts of ways.