Marshall Loeb sent his readers an early Valentine with his article about financial information that couples should share. By couples, he’s referring to those who are married or sharing ownership of financial accounts.
Number One: “Married couples and those with joint investments or accounts should know the names, addresses and contact information of each other’s broker, accountant, personal banker, attorney, insurance agent and financial planner.”
My thoughts: There’s no need for memorization of so many names. All of this information should be in a place known to both individuals. Separate files are not needed, especially if the household is shared. Having your lover’s financial advisor’s number on your speed dial is unnecessary unless the advisor is also your lover.
Number Two: “Couples should also have two safe deposit boxes containing details of pension and retirement plans, wills, estate plans, insurance policies, birth certificates and financial holdings.”
My thoughts: This is where having two copies makes sense. If one passes away, the other may still access the necessary files. Don’t have too many safe deposit boxes as it could get too cumbersome. When you get to the point where you have to store your lockbox combinations in another lockbox, you’ve gone too far.
Number Three: “Also, keep at hand records of large purchases made together such as real estate, boats and works of art. Having ready access to information on these items will make it easier to cope if the two of you are ever separated.”
My thoughts: Someday, I hope to have money to spare to purchase works of art. I would also like a baby grand piano (my children will be exposed to musical performance) but I get the feeling we’re going to have to settle for an upright. Otherwise, I agree with the sentiment. Large joint purchases can cause major headaches if the relationship turns sour. Having the information readily available will make any process smoother.
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published January 24, 2006.