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 become somebody’s spouse you begin to look at things like a couple. Marriage is a partnership; true partners try to share equally in this adventure.
Oftentimes 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.
Set financial goals together: easier to budget and save if you are working toward common goals.
Work on your Net Worth: know what you got and who owns the asset. Update your net worth annually.
Know where all the important papers are stored. Create a check list so you remember where you have stored your stuff.
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? Do you know the optimum time to begin your 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 work record, whichever is larger.
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. Do not sign the return until you understand it.
Insurance: review your life insurance policies. Do you both have life insurance? Who is the beneficiary? Are you adequately insured?
Understanding the family finances is essential, especially for women. Ninety percent of women end up managing their own finances at some point during their lifetime. Thirty-two percent of women aged 55 and older are widows and half of those over 65 are widowed. And the divorce rate is still close to 50%.