Tips for Managing Your Financial Assets as a Couple in Late Middle Age and Beyond
Many older couples have become used to an arrangement in which one of the two spouses has been primarily responsible for all of the couple’s major decisions in terms of financial planning, while the other, for example, might handle everyday household expenses. For instance, if the wife has been primarily responsible for finances for years, her husband likely wouldn’t have much experience in more complicated financial matters should his wife pass away before he does.
It’s strongly recommended that couples take a joint approach to managing finances, even if they have had a different arrangement for decades. Here are some steps you can take to ensure both you and your spouse are fully capable of handling any potential financial issues that could arise:
- Go to financial meetings together. If you have a financial advisor, attend those meetings together. There you can both learn more about how your money is invested, how you should handle asset distribution in your wills and trusts and various other important financial matters.
- Be familiar with your life insurance policies. Whenever you review your assets (at least annually), make sure you review the amount of life insurance on each of you. For one, if you own life insurance to help a surviving spouse pay off certain debts, then staying properly covered is imperative. Additionally, if one spouse retires, the amount of coverage provided by an employer could shrink or disappear altogether. You should be familiar with any life insurance scenarios that could impact you.
- Be familiar with all of your debts. Know exactly how much you owe together and independently for auto loans, credit cards, mortgages or any other debts you have. Taking debt into retirement could make life difficult, especially if one of you passes away early into your retirement.
- Prepare yourself for the worst. Know what would happen in worst-case scenarios with your finances. If, for example, your spouse dies before you, you should have a good idea of what happens to any guaranteed income payments he or she would have received.
For more information on financial management and estate planning for older couples, speak with an experienced Tampa attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.