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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
Show Your Love by Sharing Your Knowledge

It's Valentine's Day, and many of you out there in blog-reader-land will be exchanging tokens of affection with your significant other. Flowers, candy, cards, jewelry and the like are wonderful gifts to give and to receive.  In addition to those traditional gifts, however, it is important that you give another kind of gift to the person you love the gift of knowledge about your family's financial picture.
 I have worked with many clients mostly women who felt totally unprepared to handle their own routine financial matters when they found themselves suddenly single again.  In misguided attempts to keep their wives from "worrying" about their finances, the husbands "took care of things" like banking, bill paying, and deciding on investments themselves.  I know women who never wrote a check before they lost their husbands.  Some of them didn't have any idea about where their money was located or how much money they had.  Investment statements might as well have been written in a foreign language, because they certainly appeared that way to these women.  (Lest you think I am picking on men here, my own birth family had the opposite situation:  my mother took care of all of the family finances and my father was the one who never wrote a check.)
Although it is common to divide responsibilities for executing the various tasks in a household, each spouse should at least know what the other spouse is doing!  Of course, this is a two-way street:  the spouse who typically handles the finances should share what he/she does with the other spouse, and the other spouse has the responsibility to know what's going on with the family finances.
So, dear couples, talk to each other!  Maybe not on Valentine's Day, but sometime very soon, make a date with each other to talk about your finances.  At the very least, both of you need to know:
         Your regular bills, and where you keep them
         Your bank accounts, how much money is in them, and where the checks are kept
         Your investments, how much money is in them, and the name and phone number of your broker
Of course, there is much more to most families' financial picture than those three items, but talking about those three things is an important start.  For a comprehensive list of financial-related things your spouse needs to know about, go to http://www.onlineorganizing.com/BlogEntry.asp?id=2387
Roses are red, chocolates are yummy, but financial empowerment is the best Valentine for your honey.

posted on: 2/14/2010 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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Minimizing Financial Clutter

by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

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