Do you are your spouse manage all of your financial matters? If so what happens to your personal finances if the other is hospitalized or unexpectedly passes away? Would the non-CFO of the house know what to do to manage the family finances? In my post Financially Prepare your Spouse in order to Simplify I explain what the non-spouse needs to know in order to manage the family finances. Now its time to take it a step further. In order to make it even easier for the non-CFO spouse, you must create a file to explain what needs to be done to manage the family finances. I would label this file Emergency Financial File. This file should be filed with all of your other financial documents or in a location your spouse has access to and can quickly put their hands on it when needed. I would even purchase a red folder so it stands out from all of your other files.
This file should contain the following information:
Passwords and Login IDs
If you are truly trying to simplify your personal finances most of your personal financial information should be accessible online. You want to leave a listing of all of your passwords and log in information in the file. Make sure you are updating the file when you change any of your passwords.
You want to leave a listing of all account numbers. This should include deposit accounts numbers, credit card account numbers, investment account numbers, retirement account numbers and any other financial related account number. If you have multiple banking relationships be sure to identify each bank as well. You don’t want them guessing what account number goes with what bank. A simple way to do this would be to make a copy of the first page of each account statement at least once a year and place the copy in the file.
You want to make a list of all financial contacts and place them in the file. These contacts should include all insurance contacts, accountants, attorney, investment advisors, and bank contacts. Many of these contact names should be on your account statements.
Location of assets
By keeping a copy of the statements this will help identify the location of assets but don’t forget those assets that you may hold in a safe deposit box or in personal home safe. Many individuals hold important financial documents, wills, jewelry and stock and bond certificates in deposit box or safe. You want to identify where those assets and documents are held. NOTE: If you hold assets or documents in safe deposit box make sure your spouse has access to the box and knows where the key is located.
Listing of all expenses
Create a list of all expenses and due dates so if your spouse had to step in and take over the finances. They would be aware of what needs to be paid and when it is due. Yes a bill may come in the mail but its better to provide them a list so they know what needs to be paid and when.
Begin gathering all of the information discussed above so you can create your Emergency Financial File immediately. You just never know when it will be needed. The more information you provide the easier it will be on your spouse or whoever is left to manage your personal finances.
Remember take one step at a time to simplify your personal finances.