What to Do When One Spouse is Not Involved in the Finances

October 25, 2021

What do you do as a married couple if you or your significant other is not knowledgeable about money?

In this case, I’m not referring to a spouse that mishandles money. That’s another subject altogether.

What I have in mind is couples who have been together for decades and one of them hardly knows anything about the finances. One spouse might get an “allowance” (yes, this happens) and other than that, all monetary decisions from budgets to banking are done by the other.

Let me be clear, I’m not impugning the lack of financial knowledge on behalf of one of the spouses, nor am I opining on the dynamics of the marital roles chosen. These may be intentional choices that the couple is perfectly happy with.

My concern is that marriages don’t last forever. Even the good ones. When death cometh and the spouse who was not “in charge of the finances” is all the sudden in charge, it can be overwhelming. It can also be a time when they are prone to fall for financial scams or a bad experience with a “financial advisor”.

Since couples will not be together forever and because some individuals have no interest in financial matters, I have two suggestions for those in this kind of relationship.

First, make sure that the spouse who does not handle the money knows where anything and everything money-wise is. At the very least, they need to know where the paperwork for the wills and trusts are, what the logins for bank and investment accounts are, and how to contact any lawyers, CPAs, financial advisors, and other professionals involved in the estate.

Second, hire a financial advisor that BOTH of you trust. Start the interview process now. Tomorrow is sooner than you think. This way, the financially oriented spouse knows that their beloved will be in good hands at their passing, and the less knowledgeable one will already have a relationship with the wealth manager they will be leaning on when widowed. The process of finding and hiring a trusted financial advisor and regularly meeting with him/her will itself be a good educational experience for the couple.

If this situation describes your relationship, consider setting up a meeting with us to help. If it describes your parents or friends, would you forward this article to them?