In many homes there is typically one person who takes the lead in managing household economics. This person may be the one who pays all of the bills, manages all of the webpage logins, and generally keeps the business of the family in smooth working order. Having a single point of contact with a well-defined role and responsibility is a double edged sword in which all of the benefits can be outweighed by the concept of single point of failure.
This week my wife and I were discussing a possible conversion from a traditional POS health insurance into a high deductible health plan. We discussed the finances of the change, the investment opportunity of the change, and had a rare in depth conversation regarding a financial plan in which we were both active participants. I need to keep that momentum going.
In order to help diversify the knowledge base in any household I suggest using some pretty simple tools that can help consolidate as much information as you want to capture in one place. Many password manager services like KeePass and LastPass offer the ability to generate complex passwords and save user account and password combinations to one encrypted and secure location online. Once you get over the initial shock and fear that your whole library of webpage authentications can be managed securely online you will appreciate the simplicity of the tool. One master password can unlock the library of information. Choose a complex password that you and your partner will easily remember.
Another great feature of some password managers is the ability to create secure notes. The secure note can hold information such as account numbers, document locations, policy information, instructions etc. Taking the time to prepare a secure note will be a very valuable too in the event that your spouse needs information that you are not able to provide.
There are some applications of these tools which may be viewed as a morbid “hit by bus” scenario. That may be true but financial transparency among couples can contribute to a better relationship by sharing a vision of the future and having open discussions about finances and financial planning.