Too personal to talk about- money!

<p>My h and I have different financial philosophies, my family ( well some) are frugal, his seems to be, die broke.</p>

<p>While he has earned the bulk of our income, and it has been up to me to budget what he doesn't spend on sex, drugs & rock 'n roll ( slight metaphors there), we are solidly in middle age & combined with my inheritance is enough reason for us to get on the same page re: financial future. Or at least * I think so *.</p>

<p>How have others approached this issue?
I have been "managing" his company retirement account, but only because he didn't want anything to do with it.</p>

<p>I also have been the one to do our taxes and make the final decision on big purchases, like what we can afford for college and if we should pay thousands of $ for our elderly dog to have surgery.
But I don't like to be the decider, plus just in case he outlives me, I don't want him to blow it all just cause he doesn't know how to handle it.</p>

<p>How do you work with people who hate paperwork, hate corporations and whatever they percieve to be "the establishment" and have enough foresight to look beyond next month?</p>

<p>One piece of advice if it is not too late: never co-mingle your inheritance (or any gifts given only to you) with your spouse's or marital funds in any account. Open separate accounts for those items. Pay any expenses you choose to spend it on (mortgage paydown, etc.) directly from those accounts without transferring that money into marital accounts first. It would have saved me a ton of headaches and money during my divorce if someone had given me this advice early in life! You never know what is going to happen 10-20 years down the road, this is a very prudent step for anyone to take. You can spend it on stuff that benefits both of you. But if you have to split that asset later, it is silly not to have a clear, legal audit trail of what your funds paid for.</p>

<p>That said, my ex had some financial traits in common with your H. Some people just don't want to deal with it, and I don't think you can make them. You can try setting up regular "meetings" to go over the investments, budget, and any upcoming decisions. But if that is a huge chore for him (and for you to prepare something for him to review), it won't do much good. We tried that, but ex-h's eyes just glazed over. I just gave up and kept doing it.</p>

<p>In case something happens to you, I would try to make sure the paperwork is super organized for him (list of all accounts, organize statements so they are easy to find, make a list of annual financial tasks you do, contact info for key resources like financial planner/accountant/attorney). If you have laid out scenarios for major spending (college, retirement) showing how much to take out of the accounts each year and your assumptions, create a binder with that info and update regularly. In the end, my goal was always to make sure that at least the kids support and college funds would be pretty much intact if I got hit by a bus... if he couldn't learn to handle the finances after I was gone, there really isn't much I could do about it.</p>

<p>Dh and I are in business together. I'm the money person but in the business and our home. Once a month I send him an email outlining the basics. Letting him know the balances of mortgages on both our properties, estimated current equity of the properties, upcoming tuition bills, amount in the "savings" account for kids college payments, etc.<br>
I meet with our CPA quarterly and email him the highlights of those meetings. He hasn't written a check in a long time. He uses his debit card to get cash and that's about it. It works for us....</p>

<p>I solved this problem years ago. I felt - with some justification - that my wife spent too much money. So I turned over the household finances to her. I stopped looking at the checking account. I have hardly paid a bill in the last 10 years. Now she goes around behind me and turns off the lights.</p>

<p>If you are managing the money now, keep on doing so. Keep a page listing accounts and passwords, then just keep on managing the money. You will be nervous if he starts to manage the money, and he will either manage after you get hit by a bus, or he won't, but it won't be your problem. I'd lay bets, as well, that one of your children likes managing money; you could recruit that child to plan to take over, if necessary.</p>

<p>(I tried letting my husband manage the money; we both hated it. I was worried all the time that he'd forget a bill, and he thought I was micro-managing. It was not a good time.)</p>

<p>I love edad's idea, but that wouldn't work with DW. Even basic financial disciplines are seemingly too much ... Me: "Hey Hon, did you take check #1402 from the checkbook?" DW: "I don't know, probably, I don't remember." I've resorted to a four-pronged approach:
(1) Organize the files, make an index, and give the index to adult daughter;
(2) Generate an annual financial report including a statement from every account;
(3) Hand annual report to DW, who immediately hands it back ("Are we still OK?"); and
(4) Don't get upset ... because life's too short.</p>

<p>I'm definitely the money manager in this family, and this works better for both of us. Luckily, we have basically the same approach to money--frugal until we decide together on some big thing, always live beneath our means. Save in the bank, rather than investments. I let him know when we can afford something big (college, car, job change, etc,) and he trusts me to get that right. I pay all bills and do the taxes. He has no idea how much money I have unless I tell him (which of course I am happy to do). This works for both of us.</p>

<p>Intparent--I understand your point, but if H had separated his inheritances (not huge but made some difference) from the rest of our money, we'd be divorced now. I would not live like that.</p>

<p>I had no issues spending the money on joint items. Honestly, it never occurred to me to do otherwise. We paid off a mortgage on our old house, and made a very large down payment on our current house, and put significant amounts into CDs intended for kids college educations (before anyone questions that, we also had separate 529s, but some stuff - - like some study abroad can't be covered thru a 529, so we wanted some savings outside that. And what if the kid didn't go to college?). I wasn't hoarding this money for some use of my own or "just in case", and I consulted him on all the investments or purchases. If he didn't really get involved, it is more because he couldn't be bothered about money issues, not that I was keeping the money away from him or something.</p>

<p>But I mingled the money into our joint accounts. And when I caught him cheating (something that apparently had been going on for many years) and divorced him, he claimed that the money and assets were half his. This was about $200K worth of assets that should have been considered non-marital. By the way, I was also the primary income earner throughout our marriage. He even wanted half of the college CDs, and has not paid ONE PENNY toward tuition for D1s college or D2s high school tuition since the divorce. We ended up settling, but I figure I lost about $75,000 in the deal, and of the money he got, none has gone for our kids college education. I hope (truly) that everyone out here has a more ethical spouse than my ex. But it would be very prudent just to keep the money in separate accounts and hang on to the statements/cancelled checks. It is very simple. You can still spend freely on your family and work with your spouse on how to use the money.</p>

<p>I don't know if this is the case, but if your spouse is ever sued, it may provide some protection for those assets as well if you are still married. If that is the case, then it seems even smarter.</p>

<p>H can do calculus, but not bookkeeping. He depends on me to take care of the $. I'm not an organized person by nature, so it is a challenge for me.
One financial disaster after another in H's extended family. My family is extremely frugal/cheap, always pay everything on time, always talk about "deals" they got, always ask each other, "How much did you pay for that?" H's family would never mention $--too low class. His mom worked and she took care of the finances (barely). When she died suddenly, her husband asked his daughter, "How do I find out which bank the checking account is in? Sad. Both people should know what is going on, even if only one is in charge.</p>

<p>I used to manage my retirement, husband's retirement, our join account money. Now I delegate husband's retirement account to him to manage. He seems to enjoy managing his account so far. He even created spreadsheet to check on his investment weekly. I say it's a step in the right direction. Maybe you should suggest to your husband to manage his own money.</p>

<p>Still in the process of being burned, I think Intparent makes good points. On the bottom of a check, in memo area, write "loan" if to a relative or stepchild. I've heard so many parents speak of getting their child the down payment for first home, and then, when the kids divorce, the child loses half this money. If the gift had been designated as a loan, then their debt would be paid before child's marital assets divided. I know too many parents who helped their married child for years, with gifts of computers, furniture, etc., who only can wish they were still able to help their child/grandchildren resettle after a divorce.</p>

<p>When in love, very hard to discuss money sensibly. Yet, financial matters continue to be the #1 problem in relationships.</p>

<p>It also depends on who you want to have your inheritance down the road. You may want to designate that some or all of it go to your kids. Your husband would have the right to it if you don't have a will that designates who it goes to. If you think he'll blow it, leave it to someone else!</p>

<p>Intparent and bookworm--of course you're right. But it's me; I wouldn't stand for that (and a good thing we both think this way, else I'd spend a lifetime asking H for money.)</p>

<p>I wouldn't sign a pre-nup either--it'd be a marriage dealbreaker for me. Again, that's just me--I can't operate differently. (and the one thing I admire Bill Gates for is not getting a pre-nup before he married.)</p>

<p>I am an accountant, but H does most of the money stuff at home. That said, I know exactly where the money is going, we make all major decisions together and we each have retirement accounts. He does the taxes every year and then I review them. I am worse than the IRS, I look at everything to the penny.</p>

<p>One thing that surprises me is how many of my friends tell me their H's never look at the credit card bills. We both look at ours, not because we don't trust each other, but because we want to see what we are spending on and to make sure that there are no fraudulent charges.</p>

<p>If you are genuinely concerned about your husband's squandering or frittering away the money after your death, create a trust that will only be created upon your death and which, perhaps, will pass to your children when your husband dies. Then the trustee -- whom you can select -- will be in charge of the money. The trustee can give your husband a reasonable income, but if he wants to spend something out of the ordinary -- say, a red Corvette -- he'll have to ask the trustee for permission and the trustee will have to determine if your husband really needs the money. (Obviously, if he needed, say, a kidney, the trustee would vote Yes.)</p>

<p>Even if you don't have huge assets, you can still set up something like this. Get thee to an estate attorney and ask for advice.</p>

<p>In addition, your husband doesn't need to know about this arrangement. He'll only find out if you die before he does, and then -- you'll be dead, so he can't really do anything about it, can he.</p>

<p>Of course, this assumes that you have assets that are separate from his -- an IRA, say, or 401(k) or life insurance. This won't work for joint money.</p>

<p>I'm the one who needs to be held accountable. H hates dealing w/finances but does it anyway. He loves the computer programs where you enter the accounts and balances, etc. Most of our bills are on autopay so we don't miss payments. Together, we have long term goals that will require saving money so we set up an automatic transfer into a savings account for that. I think establishing goals together has helped us w/managing our money but in a relationship like ours, ONE of us will always be "in charge" of the money. That's him.</p>

<p>Bookworm, in our family we draw up a legal document for loans. We keep it simple (eg, interest paid annually at prime rate as of that date every year + x percent, or something like that). Or even no interest if that is what you want. The loan docs are one page. This actually was a tremendous benefit when my sibling died unexpectedly a few years ago. He had a loan from my parents for a considerable sum (2nd mortgage), and it was paid back to them from the estate prior to any estate distributions. Without that legal document, they would have had a hard time getting their money back from the estate. You can find simple forms online. That puts you in a much stronger position if there is a divorce or death. You can always choose to forgive the loan if you want to, but you can't easily prove that there was a loan without this.</p>

<p>If I am ever in a position to gift money to my children, the one request I will make of them is that they handle it in this way (separate account, checks written directly to major expenses where possible). I'll take the bad cop rap from their spouses if there is one for this arrangement. Of course, if the kids want to spend the money paying off credit card bills or something that doesn't result in a tangible asset, that is totally up to them and it won't matter a bit if they kept the $$ separate. </p>

<p>Statistics on this vary a bit, but it appears to me that something like 43% of new marriages in the US at the current time will end in divorce within 15 years. No matter how much I love my D's spouses, I consider this advice to them (and the same to the spouse!) to be as important as teaching them to establish a good credit rating or good investment & savings habits.</p>

<p>Garland, I can see how this is tricky if H's non-marital assets provide primary financial support for your marriage and if you are trying to manage the money (darned hard to do without access!). I do think couples can get around this by creating a joint account that some of the money flows to in order to cover general household expenses. They can get around the logistics, I mean. The emotional issues might be another story. But I assume you can see that from the person who left him the money's point of view that they might want him to end up with it if you ever did divorce him, or they might want it to go to his children if he died. This separation of accounts also makes it easier to establish a trust or something upon death because the money is separate and accounted for as non-marital.</p>

<p>My father left my part of the inheritance in a generation skipping trust to my children. I derive lifetime benefits from any income generated. This way, it is kept out of my estate to avoid taxes and off limits to my husband upon my death. That was my father's wishes.</p>

<p>My husband meanwhile handles his own inheritance. We haven't needed to touch them yet.</p>

<p>cbreeze, My parents did the same. Then, my MO died suddenly, and FA had a stroke and died shortly after--all this right before S applying to college. He became full pay, as college has right to something like 33% of his assets. </p>

<p>Garland, your marriage sounds wonderful. I've followed your posts for years, and know how you put quality of life before material things. With my son's FA, money was never an issue because we were both careful and shared goals. Its my last rel'shp in which I've learned that a prenup would have been deal breaker, but all to the better. Had he been sincere about not stealing $, he would have agreed to putting that on paper with an objective lawyer.</p>

<p>Recently, I wrote new Will & Trust, and hope that I've protected my S. Its hard to ask a young person to separate finances from a spouse, so he can blame it on me if he has to see the Trustee to withdraw a large amount.</p>

<p>Bookworm--it has it's ups and downs, but i can't complain! :)</p>

<p>Intparent--not ever our primary financial resource. I'm talking basically insurance/sold home split among siblings when his mom died, then small amount after his sister unexpectedly died. It wasn't a matter of either "leaving" him money in a will; more like untimely deaths and leftover assets/insurance. Most of it went to pay off his medical school loans, anyway. But for me, in any case, we have a share and share alike policy--if someone didn't lke that, they'd be better off not leaving anything to either of us!</p>