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Who’s in Charge 0f Your Wallet?

October 14, 2013
Plain English Version

In most families, one person is in charge of paying the bills. How much does the other person know and does it matter?

Experts say it does matter. Just think about three possible events: death, divorce, and disability. Talking about these events makes people uncomfortable. So they put off planning for emergencies. They do not discuss retirement.

A financial advisor says that when you prepare, you are much better off when unexpected events happen. Here is what experts say people should do.

Identify a person (spouse, partner, child, parent, close friend) whom you trust.  Start with listing important information. For example, your checking account. Does your person know your bank, account number, login words, and passwords?

How about your retirement funds and insurance policies? What are the premiums and who are the beneficiaries? How much you are earning? Are you paid in commission, hourly or weekly earnings?

Now consider your assets. You should document home mortgage and car loan information. List any odd assets such as valuable antiques and art, jewelry, and airline miles and credit card “points.”

Inform your person about what to do if you cannot manage your money. And talk about all these things honestly.

People sometimes do not like to talk about these matters. It makes them think about their own mortality.

Source: The Wall Street Journal                                                                                          October 6, 2013

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