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What Financial Matters Should You Talk to Your Spouse About?

7 May 2013

If you’ve ever watched even just one episode of Til Debt Do Us Part, you know just how ignorant some people can be about their spouse’s financial matters. Or where they stand as a couple at all when it comes to money matters. And while you may have sat there smugly on your own couch, shaming them over their lack of knowledge about each other’s money affairs, where do you sit with your own spouse? How much do you each know about each other, and your wallets? Take this quick quiz to find out (here’s a hint, all of your answers should be true.)

True or false:

1.) I know the total amount of our current net worth (this is all of your assets including cash, minus all of your liabilities, including bills.)

2.) I know what all of our monthly expenses are (this includes property taxes, monthly utility bills, mortgage or rent)

3.) We both know what our monthly expenses are. We have discussed the amounts, both individually and collectively, and we are comfortable with how much we are spending, and what we are spending it on.

4.) We have life insurance. I know how much me and my partner carry, we both understand the death benefits and the cash value of the policies. We are also aware of the rate that’s being earned on that money.

5.) We have reviewed our life insurance policies within the last 12 to 24 months. We understand them, we are aware that they are still applicable to our situation today (or have plans to change them accordingly,) and we are certain that we’re paying competitive rates.

6.) We both understand the amount of our mortgage, how much is being paid in principle each month, the interest rate of that mortgage, how much equity is in the home, and the current value of our home. OR, I know how much rent we pay, when the lease is up, what the security deposit was, what renewal rights we have, and what interest is being earned on any money paid, such as a deposit or last month’s rent.

7.) We have homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance, and we are both aware of what our deductibles are. We are aware of the difference between “today’s replacement cost” or actual cash value, and what value we would receive if something were to happen to the home, or the belongings within it.

8.) We both understand the details of all of our investments. (These include cash, chequing accounts, savings accounts, money-market accounts, GICs, savings bonds, mutual funds, annuities, stocks and bonds, real estate, and even collectibles.)

Unfortunately, as detailed and complicated as these issues may seem, they’re really just scratching the surface when it comes to the money talks you need to be having with your spouse. Come back tomorrow when we’ll touch on a few more of the most important issues you need to speak to your spouse about.

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