BOSTON (CBS) – This week’s series comes from one of my books, Money. The final chapters of the book are all about the different financial roles we take on in life.
When you are somebody’s spouse you begin to look at things like a couple and then as a family with children. Marriage is a partnership; true partners try to share equally in this adventure.
Oftentimes as a couple, one of you falls into the role of managing the money and handling the checkbook. Money is a very important part of the marital partnership.
Understanding the family finances is essential, especially for women. 90 percent of women end up managing their own finances at some point during their lifetime. The Census Bureau pegs the average age of widowhood at 55. So it is important that as a couple you both understand the family’s finances.
Set financial goals together: easier to budget and save if you are working toward common goals.
Net Worth: know what you got and who owns the asset. Update your net worth annually.
Know where all the important documents are located. Keep a list of the important documents and where you keep them stored. Check my website, www.deelee.net, for a Document Locator worksheet to help you find the important papers of your life.
Understand each other’s retirement plan and try to maximize your contributions. Are either of you eligible for a pension from your employer?
As you get older, do you understand your Social Security benefits? As a married individual you are entitled to your own Social Security benefit based on your work record or one half of your spouse’s benefit based on their employment record, which ever is larger.
This does not apply to same sex marriages. Here you will only receive your own benefit.
Credit cards: you should each have at least one card in your own name and keep copies of the card numbers in case one is lost or stolen.
Taxes: if one of you does the taxes or even if you use a tax preparer you should both understand your tax return.
Insurance: review your life insurance policies. Do you both have life insurance? Are you adequately insured? Do you each have health insurance thru your employer? Which would be the better deal? Can you cancel one? If you have kids, which policy covers them?