Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

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RetiredAL
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Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by RetiredAL » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:19 pm

In a reply post a little while ago, I lamented about my non-technocrat DW. I am financially astute, she is not. However I am concerned about her after my passing, to being able manage our financial affairs.
RetiredAL wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:34 pm

My DW is not a "LadyGeek" technocrat. She hates computers in general because often they work or present data differently than how she personally perceives it should be. Yet, she won't elevate her knowledge/skills/understanding to leverage the functions/capabilities of that interface/system.

An example is that in Word, she demands the hit <CR> at the end the line because that is what she learned in typing class 50 years ago, then complains of the screen jumping too many lines. Thus to preserve my sanity, I just have her write it on paper, give to me so I can enter it into Word, then I print it for her, she scribble edits it, and I fix the Word copy. Saves both of us a lot of angst.

Another example from just 3 days ago, DW came home from grocery store, where while bring groceries in, her car's alarm sounded 3 times. Her purse and electronic key dongle was left in the car because she was going back out shortly. My opinion, the car was being helpful in telling you that the dongle key was still in it. Her opinion, why didn't the car know she was going back out. I brought her purse in to prevent a 4th alarm, setting it directly in front of the door, so she could not miss it on her way back out.
Background:
1. I have two IRA's at Fidelity, one IRA was from my 401K, the other IRA was my lump sum pension which I work like an annuity.
2. I auto-withdraw money monthly from these IRA's to our checking account.
3. Our total income is SS, these withdrawals, and a very small amount of side-gig income. There is no pension income.
4. My main Roth is at Fidelity, and an older smaller on at Schwab.
5. Her main Roth is at Schwab, with a minor place-holding Roth at Fidelity.
6. The SWR across all the retirement accounts is currently less than 2%.
7. We have small taxable accounts at both Schwab and Fidelity. RMD's start in 2020, and my plan is to deposit that at the Fidelity taxable account.
8. There are other accounts at Schwab relating to my Dad, Son, and Grandson, but she does not have access to them.
9. Our Schwab accounts predate when my company switched to Fidelity.
10. All of our IRA and Roth accounts name each of as the primary beneficiary, and out kids as contingent with "per stirpes".
11. We each have POA's filed with both Schwab and Fidelity to each other's accounts.
12. Estate planning is complete, including a Revocable Trust. We live in CA. I'm 68, she's 67.
13. I currently don't use auto-pays unless its a financial institution making the transfer.

My overall investment policy is much more complex that just Target Date Funds, and moderately more complex than a 3 or 4 fund portfolio. I have bucketed the next two years of withdrawals in funds that support the automatic disbursement. The last money to be used will be the Roth's.

I'm not particularity interested in moving stuff to Vanguard. I could consolidate all the Roth's to Fidelity.

The decisions/concerns going forward seem to me to be:
1. Rely more on Target Date Funds, thus not much future decision for DW to make.
2. Have Fidelity manage the accounts for DW.
3. Have my local son manage the accounts for DW.
4. I would expect DW would be writing checks, not using bill-pay.
5. Most bills come as paper statements, so DW will see them. The two that don't send statements auto-pay to a credit card.
6. The two Credit cards in use are joint, the third is in her name with me as a user.
7. Option - Migrate month bills to checking auto-pays even though I'm against every Tom, Dick, and Harry being able to initiate auto-pulls to my checking account.
8. Pay more bills via credit card, but there is a limit to that.
9. Although I do our taxes via TaxAct, I have the last 20 years of returns on file.
10. All Financial Year-end statements are in a binder, so they will be easily find-able.
11. Tax statements are mailed to our home.

I'm interested to hear what proactive steps/ideas others with a similar spouse concerns have done to help.

NextMil
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by NextMil » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:26 pm

I am not sure I would consider your estate plan complete if you have so many loose ends. Just an observation from someone much your junior - respectfully, of course.

JoeRetire
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:33 pm

RetiredAL wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:19 pm
I'm interested to hear what proactive steps/ideas others with a similar spouse concerns have done to help.
I have a fee-only fiduciary adviser who helps me some and will help my wife more when I'm gone. We are both comfortable with her and her advice.

While I keep pretty much everything on my computer (and backed up), I also have a "when I am gone" binder. In it are directions for everything financial. It specifies all our advisers (financial, legal, accounting, insurance, etc). It lists all the websites we use along with all the login information. It talks about all of our investments, and the reasons we chose them. Very similar to the "blue binder" that Rob Berger over at DoughRollers.net talks about here: https://www.doughroller.net/podcast/dr- ... al-binder/

I also do a few other minor things. For example, although I pay all bills online, I still receive paper statements and invoices. My thought is that this will be easier for my wife to handle. I also print out our tax returns and put them in a file, although I use Turbo Tax to prepare them these days.

I also periodically review our complete financial position with my wife. While I usually see her eyes glaze over, it gives me some comfort to know she will never be surprised.

That will guide my wife and whoever is helping her.

RetiredAL
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by RetiredAL » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:48 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:33 pm

I also periodically review our complete financial position with my wife. While I usually see her eyes glaze over, it gives me some comfort to know she will never be surprised.
Every 6 months or so, I too go over where everything is. I can relate to the "glazed over" eyes.

Tnx

mhalley
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by mhalley » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:29 pm

I am not quite convinced my wife would be comfortable managing the portfolio even If I switched all retirement accounts to target date funds, so I have instructed here to roll everything into Vanguards PAS. Not ideal, but certainly not the worst option out there.

carolinaman
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by carolinaman » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:33 am

I have a similar situation to you and DW and I are a few years older. I consolidated accounts and simplified investments with a diversified index fund approach. Even so, our financial life is still too complicated for my wife. She has been trained to use computer but refuses to do so. Our financial life is largely online with automatic bill pays, statements, etc. Our tax situation is more complicated than when I worked due to RMDs, estimated taxes, multiple income sources (yes, I know this is a blessing). Even our health care is mostly online although DW would continue to do old fashioned way.

My plan is to have my daughter help her. My son would be another option although he is not as financially astute as my daughter. Both are highly trustworthy and would work well with my wife.

I think this approach is very viable provided you can find someone who is totally trustworthy to help her.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:55 am

My instructions list where all investments are.

The instructions say to take RMDs from any IRA and also take RMDs from any 401k.

Beyond that, take money from any account you feel like taking it from. Let all investments ride where they are.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

MikeG62
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by MikeG62 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:07 am

RetiredAL wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:19 pm

I'm interested to hear what proactive steps/ideas others with a similar spouse concerns have done to help.


OP, I feel you pain.

There was a similar post a while back where I added a comment.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=248563&p=3910457&hi ... k#p3910457

I would add that I have a lengthy word document (which my DW has read to make sure she understands it) which sets forth in detail the steps she needs to take should I predecease her and how to manage her financial affairs going forward. She also has access to my IPS and withdrawal policy statement. These things should “help”, but will in no way be a susstitute for me hand-holding her as I have done.

I am not prepared to make huge sacrifices (like going to a target date fund) simply because she does not understand investing. We are both still young (I am 56 and she is 53) and hopefully have many decades left here on earth. Maybe if we were 30 years older than we are, then I might consider simplifying things to make the process easier for her should I go first.

This is a tough nut to crack for those of us whose significant other has zero interest in the finances. Hard to imagine in this day and age anyone not having an interest, but I guess if there is always cash and CC’s in her wallet and the bills are always paid on time there has been little incentive for her to become interested (despite my numerous attempts - and I mean numerous) to try and get her interested.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

dcabler
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by dcabler » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:28 am

I hear ya! My wife is a technocrat (CS degree) and can do excel almost as well as I do. On the other hand, there is little interest in our financial life and she tends to hit the guardrails when we've had to tighten or loosen our belts over the years. Shades of grey aren't her thing. :D I do have an IPS and I have her re-read it after I make updates. In the last revision, I recommended that if I pass first that she find a "fee-only" advisor to help her out and listed a number of websites to help her find one. Like others, I'm not willing to change our portfolio to make it simpler as I feel I have it dialed in pretty well at this point.... Not sure what else can be done at this point...

desiderium
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by desiderium » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:41 am

This is something I have considered as well

I came across a fee-capped fiduciary FA firm that is local. As a firm it is not just one person with an opinion, but a well established ongoing investment philosophy (boglehead, essentially). I have not hired them because I have not been able to reduce my interest in and tinkering with my investments. I am ok with my own approach for now. My death instructions specify calling this firm to sort everything out and manage the money going forward. I plan to update this evaluation every few years.

In your case I would try to find an arrangement that your wife would be comfortable working with at a human level. The fees of a local fiduciary FA would probably be worth the expense in this event. A second choice would be to use fidelity's personal advisor service, which your wife could easily activate after your death. I would suggest having a discussion with them about this issue and see if it would work.

Rupert
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by Rupert » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:13 am

OP, your wife reminds me of my mother, who is just a few years older than you are. She called me yesterday to ask for the password for her tablet computer, which I keep in my files for reasons that will become clear. Turns out, upon further investigation, that she actually needed the password for her email account so that "the nice man at the library" could help her print an email that she needed to give her accountant. Turns out, upon yet further investigation, that she needed to print a document contained in an email attachment, a term my mother is completely unfamiliar with. I ask her, why don't you just forward the email and attachment to the accountant? **Crickets** So I logged into her email account today, printed the attachment, and mailed it to her -- first class -- USPS -- in 2018. There's nothing you can do for folks like that. They aren't going to learn. It's actually dangerous for them to try to learn at this point. So, yes, you have to have a plan, and your local son handling financial matters for her is probably the best plan for you, if he is willing.

But also, you're 68. I would start to simplify things not just for your wife's sake and your son's sake, but also for your own sake. While you likely have many lucid years left, we unfortunately don't always recognize when that lucidity begins to slip. So, yes, I would absolutely consolidate all those Roth accounts if possible. I would even move everything to one brokerage firm if possible (Fidelity or Schwab, either one). You don't have to consolidate everything into one fund, such as a Target date fund, but consolidating at one firm is a good idea.

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teen persuasion
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by teen persuasion » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:45 pm

Interesting discussion - it looks like there are at least 2, probably more, different types of interest/skill/savvy-ness involved here.

My DH is fine technology-wise, but has little interest in finances, and is a bit math illiterate. He can do general math, but gets uncomfortable with formulas and variables. He's completely happy letting me handle everything financial, but I chatter enough about bits and pieces of concepts that he's slowly being indoctrinated. I keep it really bite sized. Eyes glazed over is a lost cause.

My parents refuse to have a computer or internet in their house. Dad has been investing for decades, but the shift of information to online sources has stymied him. My sister and I are trying to keep them in the loop - she has a watch list of his stocks and at the end of the week she shows dad the stock prices (since they are no longer printed in the newspaper). We've both been trying to get their taxes straightened out - dad didn't know about zero cap gains rate, despite being an accountant. The change occurred after he retired, and he's not online to learn. Once we convinced him we knew what we were talking about, he misinterpreted the idea, and just left his LTCG off his return (he couldn't see where the tax was computed), and things were further confused by our brother inputting everything into tax SW for dad (GIGO). So we are doing a dance, trying to gently nudge our parents into the modern world without doing everything for them (they are still sharp), while gently getting dad to open up his complete financial picture to us so we can better understand and advise them. He is very likely to predecease mom as he's 10 years older, but I don't know if they've looked at her situation as a widow. I'd definitely like to simplify things for them if we can, especially now while we can ask questions, but it's hard to broach the subject of their mortality.

I'm also trying to teach the kids about finances, whenever I can. DS2 just called me to ask a bunch of questions - he started a new job, and had all the benefits package to wade thru and decide on, so now he's open to it.

pennywise
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by pennywise » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:53 pm

These seem to be periodic discussions, and I have expressed this thought before but once again: for those who seem to believe their loved ones are simply incapable of understanding or dealing with personal finances: be of good cheer.

After the funeral, your ditsy non-technocrat wife (more rarely husband) will find the wherewithal to either figure it out or hire someone to help figure it out so that the lights and heat stay on, food can be procured to avoid starvation, and the tax man doesn't repo the roof over her or his head. Seriously, people take care of themselves when they have to, it's that simple.

Wifey's eyes get to glaze over while husbands handle every single detail of bill paying, retirement planning etc etc because it's actually playing a pretty smart long game. Why deal with any of that when you don't have to if it's not something you find interesting or rewarding?

Once again-when it has to get done, it will get done. I've never read a story of a widow(er) dying because they had a pile of retirement money but just couldn't figure out how to get the funds out of the accounts!

denovo
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by denovo » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:34 pm

RetiredAL wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:19 pm




I'm interested to hear what proactive steps/ideas others with a similar spouse concerns have done to help.
Do you have any kids you can enlist that you and your wife trust?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

MikeG62
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by MikeG62 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:41 pm

pennywise wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:53 pm
These seem to be periodic discussions, and I have expressed this thought before but once again: for those who seem to believe their loved ones are simply incapable of understanding or dealing with personal finances: be of good cheer.

After the funeral, your ditsy non-technocrat wife (more rarely husband) will find the wherewithal to either figure it out or hire someone to help figure it out so that the lights and heat stay on, food can be procured to avoid starvation, and the tax man doesn't repo the roof over her or his head. Seriously, people take care of themselves when they have to, it's that simple.

Wifey's eyes get to glaze over while husbands handle every single detail of bill paying, retirement planning etc etc because it's actually playing a pretty smart long game. Why deal with any of that when you don't have to if it's not something you find interesting or rewarding?

Once again-when it has to get done, it will get done. I've never read a story of a widow(er) dying because they had a pile of retirement money but just couldn't figure out how to get the funds out of the accounts!
This is all true and fair.

However, the worry is not that our DW/DH's will starve or end up living in the street (you are right, they won't), but rather the difficulty of the path they will have to go down to get to where they need to be (taking care of the finances, regardless of whether they choose to outsource the investment management piece of not). Let's face it, none of us want our significant other to endure any sort of hardship, especially when the level of that hardship could be significantly lessened with some effort and education while both spouses are alive. In addition, while our SO's will eventually figure/sort it out, it may be a "very costly" process with financial consequences to them and eventually our heirs. Again, this should be largely avoidable, but unfortunately in some cases it won't be avoided.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:14 pm

You could always leave the money in a trust, with one of your kids as co-beneficiary and co-trustee. That way, someone would be available to continue managing the financial life of your widow(er).

Or not.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jury-award ... lls-fargo/

Key quote:
Barbara Morriss, the widow of a former Boatmen's Trust Co. chairman, has contended that she first learned her accounts were drained in late 2011, when her credit card was declined at Neiman Marcus.
And for all the well-deserved bad press Wells Fargo has gotten recently, this verdict was unfair to them. It wasn't their job to keep the beneficiary from blowing through the trust. They were just the custodian.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by fourwheelcycle » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:18 pm

RetiredAL, my wife and I are just a couple of years older than you and I face a similar problem, except perhaps that my wife does not hit carriage return when she uses WORD. She pays our monthly bills, but that is the full extent of her financial involvement. She says she will learn to do our taxes and manage our savings, and learn about RMDs (the list goes on), when she needs to, but I am concerned that when I go, or my brain goes, she will have some difficulty. All of our non-retirement savings, and our house, are in a joint revocable trust. We have a financially competent son who is named as our DPOA, executor, and successor trustee.

I have prepared a detailed letter of instruction for our DPOA son that includes a spreadsheet of all our assets and information on how to access them. I have made secure electronic arrangements, which he knows about, that will provide him access to the letter of instruction if I die or become mentally incompetent. I have also asked him to assist his mother with her taxes and financial management if I die or become mentally incompetent before her. He has assured me he will do this. That is my plan, I hope it works.

47Percent
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by 47Percent » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:42 pm

Fidelity has a service called FidSafe that is made available and free to all of their customers.

It provides a secure online storage with all your documents, a list of contacts you can specify, and some basic rules that make the information available with some gradation to specific contacts when you pass.

Just like my estate plan as a whole, I started with some documents and is nowhere near complete.

At least for digital documents, and instructions you may consider using this.

Can someone provide an estimate for a fee-only service who would guide the spouse, even if there are very clear instructions? Although I have pretty much put things on auto pilot, I think someone guiding my spouse who is familiar with things like 529, step-up in cost basis, MAGI management etc. when I am gone would be immensely beneficial.

Is that kind of service available from a reputed financial organization that has a local presence (Schwab or Fidelity) ?

RetiredAL
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by RetiredAL » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:54 pm

Thanks to all who have commented. Many good thoughts, several of which may force me to change my stance to achieve the needed balance. Good soul searching food that I need to digest.


mhalley wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:29 pm
I am not quite convinced my wife would be comfortable managing the portfolio even If I switched all retirement accounts to target date funds, so I have instructed here to roll everything into Vanguards PAS. Not ideal, but certainly not the worst option out there.
I need to revisit this concept with Fidelity so I fully understand what they will do and will not do. At my previous quoted $8000 a year, that fee is to me is a tuff sell when the RMD when we get there will only be $45,000. In my head, that .75% fee is a 20% overhead on the withdrawal $.
carolinaman wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:33 am
… My plan is to have my daughter help her. My son would be another option although he is not as financially astute as my daughter. Both are highly trustworthy and would work well with my wife.
I think this approach is very viable provided you can find someone who is totally trustworthy to help her.
I guess I need to move ahead with DS#1 on this subject.
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:07 am
OP, I feel you pain.
… I would add that I have a lengthy word document (which my DW has read to make sure she understands it) which sets forth in detail the steps she needs to take should I predecease her and how to manage her financial affairs going forward. She also has access to my IPS and withdrawal policy statement. These things should “help”, but will in no way be a susstitute for me hand-holding her as I have done.
Glad to know its just not me, that others have the same angst. I have one too, but after all the comments, I need to review it, possibly to be more inclusive, but also at the same time to be easier to read.
… Hard to imagine in this day and age anyone not having an interest, but I guess if there is always cash and CC’s in her wallet and the bills are always paid on time there has been little incentive for her to become interested …
Yup, she has been happy because the CC and Cash was always there and I’ve been fortunate to accomplish that. She does not go hog wild with spending, but she spends more than I would.
dcabler wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:28 am
… Like others, I'm not willing to change our portfolio to make it simpler as I feel I have it dialed in pretty well at this point.... Not sure what else can be done at this point...
I concur. I like what I’m doing, so why pay a penalty for something else new just because for future simplicity.
desiderium wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:41 am
… I came across a fee-capped fiduciary FA firm that is local. As a firm it is not just one person with an opinion, but a well established ongoing investment philosophy (boglehead, essentially). I have not hired them because I have not been able to reduce my interest in and tinkering with my investments. I am ok with my own approach for now. My death instructions specify calling this firm to sort everything out and manage the money going forward. I plan to update this evaluation every few years.

In your case I would try to find an arrangement that your wife would be comfortable working with at a human level. The fees of a local fiduciary FA would probably be worth the expense in this event. A second choice would be to use fidelity's personal advisor service, which your wife could easily activate after your death. I would suggest having a discussion with them about this issue and see if it would work.
I tend to agree, but finding the right person/organization is tough. When I retired, I talked extensively with a Fidelity Advisor, but their idea was that of buying/selling individual stocks claiming they could beat the market. I guess that says Vanguard is a + due to its PAS structure. When I retired, I mostly dumped my actively managed funds for actual index funds or ones that are nearly indexes with low cost. I did meet with a fee based advisor a couple of years before I retired, but thought at the time I could do just as well plus he thought Annuities had their place. I am against Annuities and took my Pension as a lump vs taking the Annuity offered. I think the last thing I want is for my wife to buy into the hype of an Annuity.
I got some thinking to do here. I will also review my Death Letter, it is separate from my detailed IPS, which contains the logic of the investment strategies to each account.

Rupert wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:13 am
… So, yes, you have to have a plan, and your local son handling financial matters for her is probably the best plan for you, if he is willing.
That is why local DS1 was assigned the POA duties. I guess I need to bring him up to speed sooner than later.

But also, you're 68. I would start to simplify things not just for your wife's sake and your son's sake, but also for your own sake. While you likely have many lucid years left, we unfortunately don't always recognize when that lucidity begins to slip. So, yes, I would absolutely consolidate all those Roth accounts if possible. I would even move everything to one brokerage firm if possible (Fidelity or Schwab, either one). You don't have to consolidate everything into one fund, such as a Target date fund, but consolidating at one firm is a good idea.
teen persuasion wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:45 pm
Interesting discussion - it looks like there are at least 2, probably more, different types of interest/skill/savvy-ness involved here.
I had not thought of that way, but yes, there two skill/interest issues.

… I don't know if they've looked at her situation as a widow….
This is exactly why I’m planning. Although doing fine right now, I nagging health issues that means that most likely I go first.
pennywise wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:53 pm
After the funeral, your ditsy non-technocrat wife (more rarely husband) will find the wherewithal to either figure it out or hire someone to help figure it out so that the lights and heat stay on, food can be procured to avoid starvation, and the tax man doesn't repo the roof over her or his head. Seriously, people take care of themselves when they have to, it's that simple.

Wifey's eyes get to glaze over while husbands handle every single detail of bill paying, retirement planning etc etc because it's actually playing a pretty smart long game. Why deal with any of that when you don't have to if it's not something you find interesting or rewarding?
Once again-when it has to get done, it will get done. I've never read a story of a widow(er) dying because they had a pile of retirement money but just couldn't figure out how to get the funds out of the accounts!
I understand things will get done. I’m trying to ease the process and make sure she down not get taken advantage of.
denovo wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:34 pm
… Do you have any kids you can enlist that you and your wife trust?
We have 3 kids. Eldest child is DD who will likely achieve FIRE by 55, but lives too far away ( near a 1000 miles ) to deal with any local help. She is the top child Successor Trustee. Middle child is DS1 who lives local and it first child in line with POA authority if we ( DW and I ) can’t manage our lives any more. Last child is DS2, who struggles with his own financial planning, so I help him a lot.
DS2 is smart, he and his wife ( a Lawyer ) manage their money fine. One of my dichotomies that I personally struggle with is how much responsibly do I transfer to him and when? I say dichotomy, because even though my Dad is alive, I am the Trustee of his Trust and co-owner to anything else financial of his, yet I’ve been reluctant to activate DS1 POA rights to our accounts. I guess I need to resolve that internal conflict.


MikeG62 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:41 pm
… However, the worry is not that our DW/DH's will starve or end up living in the street (you are right, they won't), but rather the difficulty of the path they will have to go down to get to where they need to be (taking care of the finances, regardless of whether they choose to outsource the investment management piece of not). Let's face it, none of us want our significant other to endure any sort of hardship, especially when the level of that hardship could be significantly lessened with some effort and education while both spouses are alive. In addition, while our SO's will eventually figure/sort it out, it may be a "very costly" process with financial consequences to them and eventually our heirs. Again, this should be largely avoidable, but unfortunately in some cases it won't be avoided.
The difficulty and costly consequences are my concern that is driving this dialog.
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:14 pm
… You could always leave the money in a trust, with one of your kids as co-beneficiary and co-trustee. That way, someone would be available to continue managing the financial life of your widow(er).
Currently, I have little in taxable accounts and north of $1 million in deferred, thus naming our Trust for the deferred would create quite a tax burden.
47Percent wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:42 pm
Fidelity has a service called FidSafe that is made available and free to all of their customers.

I’ve been reluctant to use FidSafe. If they lock your account before someone can access it, its useless.

At least for digital documents, and instructions you may consider using this.
I have multiple copies of all this stuff, both with the Estate Docs and also in a Safebox. I do know I need to physically get my Son our bank to add his signature to the Safebox records.
Can someone provide an estimate for a fee-only service who would guide the spouse, even if there are very clear instructions? Although I have pretty much put things on auto pilot, I think someone guiding my spouse who is familiar with things like 529, step-up in cost basis, MAGI management etc. when I am gone would be immensely beneficial.
Is that kind of service available from a reputed financial organization that has a local presence (Schwab or Fidelity) ?

I was quoted .75% from Fidelity 30 months ago. I have not recently checked.

123
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by 123 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:50 am

If you can accept the asset allocation of a Vanguard LifeStrategy Fund for tax-deferred accounts it costs about $1K more per $1M annually to use the automatic rebalancing features of a LifeStrategy fund instead of holding the indvidiual component funds yourself. This is 1/3 the rate of Vanguard PAS (.1% versus .3%). (The costs for LifeStrategy are based on investor instead of admiral funds). Just think of it, a retirement account with a single investment, easily manageable with the automatic reinvestment and RMD process available for free at Vanguard.

Do you have a complex asset allocation that provides significantly better return that is worth the hassle for your surviving spouse?
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basspond
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by basspond » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:41 am

Have a binder that you update yearly with balances in account and the information on how to access the accounts. Also a list of monthly bills and how they are paid. Review with your spouse yearly and have her access the accounts. But make sure your children know where the information is and you explain it to them. Your spouse still might be unwilling to grasp the necessity to be informed and how to manage your household finances, she might not dot her i’s or cross her t’s the same way you do but at least she will have a start if something should happen to her DH.

stan1
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by stan1 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:16 am

Seems like you enjoy managing complexity and have some strong personal opinions about this. Your wife doesn't share either. So its a switch from your mindset to her mindset. If you've been married for a long time you've both grown used to each other. Given your ages if you are in good health carry on for a little while longer and I think over time you'll find that you prefer a little more simplicity as well. You may find that in 20 years you feel closer to your wife's view. My father in law decided at about age 90 that he no longer had interest in the details of his finances. If you find yourself in the situation where your health is declining I'd take more immediate steps.

1. Just plan to have your son manage her finances if he's willing and able. This will be a relief to your wife in all likelihood.
2. Simplify by consolidating accounts as you can.
3. Don't try to manage from the grave. If your son can take on the role of helping his mom out focus on making it easy for them rather than trying to tell them what to do after you are gone. You'll be dead; they'll figure it out.

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Pajamas
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:28 am

What does your wife prefer?

Seems to me that if your son is willing, competent, and trustworthy, having him do for her what you have been doing might be the best plan.

Simplifying everything might be a good idea now, you would benefit from that, too.

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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by bayview » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:35 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:41 pm
pennywise wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:53 pm
These seem to be periodic discussions, and I have expressed this thought before but once again: for those who seem to believe their loved ones are simply incapable of understanding or dealing with personal finances: be of good cheer.

After the funeral, your ditsy non-technocrat wife (more rarely husband) will find the wherewithal to either figure it out or hire someone to help figure it out so that the lights and heat stay on, food can be procured to avoid starvation, and the tax man doesn't repo the roof over her or his head. Seriously, people take care of themselves when they have to, it's that simple.

Wifey's eyes get to glaze over while husbands handle every single detail of bill paying, retirement planning etc etc because it's actually playing a pretty smart long game. Why deal with any of that when you don't have to if it's not something you find interesting or rewarding?

Once again-when it has to get done, it will get done. I've never read a story of a widow(er) dying because they had a pile of retirement money but just couldn't figure out how to get the funds out of the accounts!
This is all true and fair.

However, the worry is not that our DW/DH's will starve or end up living in the street (you are right, they won't), but rather the difficulty of the path they will have to go down to get to where they need to be (taking care of the finances, regardless of whether they choose to outsource the investment management piece of not). Let's face it, none of us want our significant other to endure any sort of hardship, especially when the level of that hardship could be significantly lessened with some effort and education while both spouses are alive. In addition, while our SO's will eventually figure/sort it out, it may be a "very costly" process with financial consequences to them and eventually our heirs. Again, this should be largely avoidable, but unfortunately in some cases it won't be avoided.
And let's don't forget about when a surviving spouse asks a friend (because this is a very likely scenario) or gets unsolicited advice from a friend that generally goes "I have this very nice guy/gal at Edward Jones (or a similar brokerage) who takes care of everything for me. You should just give it all to him/her to handle!"
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

MikeG62
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:20 am

bayview wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:35 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:41 pm
pennywise wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:53 pm
These seem to be periodic discussions, and I have expressed this thought before but once again: for those who seem to believe their loved ones are simply incapable of understanding or dealing with personal finances: be of good cheer.

After the funeral, your ditsy non-technocrat wife (more rarely husband) will find the wherewithal to either figure it out or hire someone to help figure it out so that the lights and heat stay on, food can be procured to avoid starvation, and the tax man doesn't repo the roof over her or his head. Seriously, people take care of themselves when they have to, it's that simple.

Wifey's eyes get to glaze over while husbands handle every single detail of bill paying, retirement planning etc etc because it's actually playing a pretty smart long game. Why deal with any of that when you don't have to if it's not something you find interesting or rewarding?

Once again-when it has to get done, it will get done. I've never read a story of a widow(er) dying because they had a pile of retirement money but just couldn't figure out how to get the funds out of the accounts!
This is all true and fair.

However, the worry is not that our DW/DH's will starve or end up living in the street (you are right, they won't), but rather the difficulty of the path they will have to go down to get to where they need to be (taking care of the finances, regardless of whether they choose to outsource the investment management piece of not). Let's face it, none of us want our significant other to endure any sort of hardship, especially when the level of that hardship could be significantly lessened with some effort and education while both spouses are alive. In addition, while our SO's will eventually figure/sort it out, it may be a "very costly" process with financial consequences to them and eventually our heirs. Again, this should be largely avoidable, but unfortunately in some cases it won't be avoided.
And let's don't forget about when a surviving spouse asks a friend (because this is a very likely scenario) or gets unsolicited advice from a friend that generally goes "I have this very nice guy/gal at Edward Jones (or a similar brokerage) who takes care of everything for me. You should just give it all to him/her to handle!"
Yup, that’s a major part of the angst.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

Dottie57
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Re: Preparing non-technocrat spouse $ Mgmt

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:36 am

pennywise wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:53 pm
These seem to be periodic discussions, and I have expressed this thought before but once again: for those who seem to believe their loved ones are simply incapable of understanding or dealing with personal finances: be of good cheer.

After the funeral, your ditsy non-technocrat wife (more rarely husband) will find the wherewithal to either figure it out or hire someone to help figure it out so that the lights and heat stay on, food can be procured to avoid starvation, and the tax man doesn't repo the roof over her or his head. Seriously, people take care of themselves when they have to, it's that simple.

Wifey's eyes get to glaze over while husbands handle every single detail of bill paying, retirement planning etc etc because it's actually playing a pretty smart long game. Why deal with any of that when you don't have to if it's not something you find interesting or rewarding?

Once again-when it has to get done, it will get done. I've never read a story of a widow(er) dying because they had a pile of retirement money but just couldn't figure out how to get the funds out of the accounts!
I do agree with this. I’ve learned to do things which caused my eyes to glaze over.

But do give information about how who to turn to for help. Vanguard PAS would work. Your very conservative suggestions would work. Do not use Fidelity advisor as they do try to sell expensive funds or products. Probably the same with Schwab - but I have no experience with them.

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