I have seen too many divorces or situations where one partner becomes severely ill or passes away and the other partner will tell me they are not prepared to fill in with the responsibilities of their spouse. This can be completely avoided with some dedication and accountability. While you may have discussed early in your relationship who will be better at paying the bills and who will be most suited to devote the larger portion of life to raising the children, you must have knowledge of the other "world" to some degree.
What happens if you don't? This has nothing to do with trust. This has nothing to do with not believing that your significant other will make good decisions along the way. This has to do with being well-informed about all the important aspects of the life you have chosen, should you need to fill in at a moment's notice.
It is not pretty to be blind-sided when something unexpected happens and you feel lost because you don't even know where the check book is or that you even had any credit cards in your name. It is a scary thought when a parent has to unexpectedly take a child to the hospital and that parent does not know what medical insurance company they have. Would you feel confident in the situation if your child's school called because your son was sick and your spouse (who usually has this responsibility) was not available to go get him? Would you know where to go? If you suddenly find yourself in a divorce situation, would you be able to look at the list of your assets and know if everything is there? Would you know how to look up your or your spouse's 401K and know how much was in there? Laugh if you will, but these are all real-life examples that happen more than you think. Being knowledgeable of all aspects of your relationship keeps you prepared for anything. It is much more calming to be prepared, than to be unprepared. Confidence in the knowledge you have helps you to respond to situations more appropriately.
If you always make major decisions together, you avoid blaming each other down the road for something gone wrong. If you were both involved in picking the bank to use and which investments to switch and keep, then there is no blaming later on in the marriage if things do not go well, as you decided together, and you get to celebrate together if things do go well.
I suggest that both partners have common knowledge of:
- All financial matters, including budgets, banking, investments, mortgage, monthly utility bills, pay stubs, retirement accounts, passwords, etc. That doesn't mean you both have to actually pay all the bills together each month, but it should mean that you have basic knowledge of the information, such as your mortgage company and your monthly payment.
- Information regarding your kids and their school, their teachers and any extracurricular activities they are involved in.
- Where all the important documents are located, such as mortgage, deed to the house, investment information, will, and passwords are kept.
- Basic medical knowledge on everyone in the family. Who is allergic to what and what insurance company you have as well as where health history information (Vaccine documentation) is kept.
- Anything important to the well-being of the family.
We have just scratched the surface of this topic, but please be sure to discuss with your significant other if you are feeling left out of important aspects of the relationship. A relationship should be a partnership, not a dictatorship. If you feel you are in a relationship where you do not have common knowledge of all the aspects of the life you are leading, give me a call and let's resolve this issue so you can both have confidence in carrying on your lifestyle, even if something devastating happens.
Thank you for taking the time to look at the knowledge you have in your current relationship ...
From The Positive Perspective.
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