Let’s talk about money at last

Maureen Kennedy
Maureen Kennedy

One of the things that people are most secretive about is money.

How much they earn, how much they have in the bank and so on. If one person manages the family accounts, the partner may have no idea about the mortgage, rent, utilities, credit cards and perhaps even loans. That’s okbut then one day the money manager isn’t there. Suddenly, at an already difficult time, the other one is left searching for this information. And what if it’s all online or the paper statements have been thrown away? Where do you start?

For example, a husband may just want to control everything and give his wife housekeeping money. The wife is quite happy with this and frankly isn’t interested as long as she has enough for a comfortable life. But one day he isn’t there, he might die or leave the marriage and the wife suddenly realises she has no idea about anything and needs to find out pretty fast for obvious reasons

And imagine if the first you know about debt or arrears is a red letter arriving or worse, the bailliffs. Even if your partner isn’t willing to discuss or disclose this information, at the very least they should care enough to write it all down and leave the details in a safe place. This is also helpful for an executor who is going to have to deal with your finances one day.

I know of several widows who find themselves at this late stage in their lives having to deal with finances for the first time. Thankfully most are well provided for but have no idea how to manage their money.

One lady received a large insurance payment when her husband died and has no idea what to do with it other than pay it into the bank. She knows there are other options available to her she doesn’t know who to trust. With so many horror stories about conmen and even problems with large financial institutions, it’s hardly surprising.

It’s not for me to give financial advice other than don’t feel pressured into doing anything. Listen to people you trust or who have been in the same position. And although it often goes against the grain to discuss finances within the family, it’s quite possible they will have some wise advice too, it’s just that they have probably never spoken about money with you before.