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5 Tips to help spouses track the family investments

Get the inside track on your family finances.


Lady and man on bench seat
Share the load with your loved one

Staying afloat the sea of life requires teamwork between you and your spouse. You hoist the sails while your partner steers the ship to shore. Divide and conquer is the name of the game in most households. Whether this is by choice or by design, many times each spouse is responsible for a specific task. These tasks can be simple such as one partner who takes out the trash while the other mows the lawn. On the other hand, these tasks may be complex such as one spouse being responsible for the household finances such as budgeting, saving, investing and bill-payment while the other spouse does the household repairs such as tiling, roofing and painting.


Who is responsible to manage the family investments?

If you are constantly checking the credit card statements, scouring the financial sections of the newspapers or following the stock market there is a good chance you are the person in your household responsible for the finances. However, there is a risk if you are single-handedly managing your family’s investments as you could be leaving your spouse out of the loop. Sure, you are as fit as a fiddle now, but can they manage the family nest-egg if something happens to you? Ensure that they can protect the assets and track the family investments in the event you are temporarily or permanently unable.


5 Easy tips for tracking your investments

These are the five (5) investment tracker tips for you to follow now to assist your spouse in the event they have to manage the family investments later:


1. LIST OF FINANCIAL CONTACTS

Draft a list of your important financial contacts: financial planners, insurance agents, accountants, and attorneys. Include their names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses, and a brief overview of what assistance they have provided in the past.


2. LIST OF ASSETS

Describe all the assets you own and where to locate them. This should include all bank accounts, passwords, and documents showing ownership of these assets such as a house or land title or a share certificate.


3. SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL STANDING

You should periodically give your spouse the big-picture view of where your finances stand. Disclose how much you have. Discuss if there is a need to increase your savings and if you are on target to meet your shared investment goals. Both partners should be involved in the decision of how much is to be spent, saved, and invested each month.


4. RANKING OF LIQUID INVESTMENTS

Generally, you should have at least 6 months’ worth of living expenses in highly liquid assets such as cash or investments. However, in case of an emergency and there is not enough cash available you should clearly state which investments should be tapped first. Withdrawing or liquidating some investments may carry penalties and have tax implications so it is important for your spouse to know which investments are most liquid and can be used right away.


5. LIST OF INVESTMENTS USED AS COLLATERAL

Some of your investments may be used as collateral. A collateral is an asset that a lender agrees to take as security for a loan. If the borrower defaults on their loan payments, the lender can take hold of the collateral and sell it to recover the amount owing. Your spouse should be aware of all investments that are being used as collateral and ensure that they stay current on the loan payments to avoid the lender seizing the investment.


Final word

You are the captain of you family’s financial future and as such you have spent a lot of time setting up your investment portfolio. It is only prudent to ensure that your spouse knows where to find all the relevant information should the need arise. Do not leave your spouse in a shipwreck of confusion. Make it easier for your partner to understand the ins and outs of the family finances. Remember you can assist them in tracking the family investments by providing a list of financial contacts, a list of assets, a summary of financial standing, a ranking of liquid investments and a list of investments used as collateral. Which investment tracker will be first on your list?



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