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What to do when a partner has little or no interest in finances

By Aviva Pinto, CDFA, Director, Bronfman Rothschild Wealth Advisors

It’s not uncommon in a relationship for one partner to handle most of the finances and the other to have little or no interest—or involvement—in the process. In these setups, difficult situations or unexpected events such as divorce, widowhood or the sudden incapacitation of a partner can leave the uninformed spouse financially vulnerable.

For an uninterested or uninformed partner, trying to become acclimated with the couple’s finances can be a daunting task – and even more challenging without knowing where to start. Financial accounts and statements may be scattered across various internet portals, each with a separate password, and simply finding the necessary information can be an arduous process.

This is why it’s critical for both spouses to have a good grasp on the basics of their household finances. Having transparency into and candid conversations about finances can also improve a couple’s relationship as money is the number one issue couples fight about.

As a starting point, couples can get on the same page by answering the following questions, as well as maintaining a detailed record of current information in one easy-to-find place:

  • What bank(s) do we use?
  • Who is our wealth manager? What does our investment portfolio look like?
  • Do we have a mortgage, and if so, with which company?
  • Do we have insurance? What kind? Who are the providers? What are the annual premiums?
  • What’s the status of our estate plan? Do we have a will or trust? Who is our attorney?
  • Who does our taxes?
  • What other assets do we own– cars, boats, vacation homes, artwork, jewelry, etc.? Where are the titles and other documents? Whose name are they in?
  • Where are the important documents – birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses?
  • Where is the log-in information and passwords to all the financial accounts?
  • What is the financial position of any businesses that we own?
  • What is our monthly budget? What bills are due each month? What income comes in each month? What is our cash flow position? What loans are outstanding?

At Bronfman Rothschild, we work with our clients to compile a comprehensive financial plan that encompasses all aspects of their lives – striving to answer as many “what if” scenarios as possible. Beyond that, we seek to educate in order to help prepare for all eventualities. If your partner is reluctant to learn about managing your finances, we can help walk him or her through the process.

Bronfman E.L. Rothschild, LP is a registered investment advisor (dba Bronfman Rothschild) and NFP Corp. subsidiary. Securities, when offered, are offered through an affiliate, Bronfman E.L. Rothschild Capital, LLC (dba BELR Capital, LLC), member FINRA/SIPC.