Help for wife after I pass away

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
Post Reply
Topic Author
smmsmm57
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 10:13 am

Help for wife after I pass away

Post by smmsmm57 »

I continue to be amazed at how good this website is in terms of people providing
in-depth answers to my questions (some more dumb than others) Thanks to every one
I see a support this site button, will do so after this posting.

My finances are not all that complicated, I have an IRA with $300,000 and some debt
($10K) that is at a low enough interest (5%) to, at least in my mind, not take any $$ out of
my IRA. I try to make sure I have an adjusted gross income under the minimum tax bracket.
I am paying this off slowly such that it should all be done in 18 months. Am not signing up
for any more debt in the meantime.


Having said all of that, my question is this:

My wife is not good at all about anything finance wise. We have no children or relatives
that I would want to ask to help her.

Is there any kind of "service" or other way I could have her consult with someone in terms
of what money she should spend, etc? I know one answer would be "Well, she'll have to
become a knowledgeable adult and take responsibility for herself" but I am not sure
how well that will turn out.

Does Vanguard provide anything along these lines?


Thanks again for all the help!
mhalley
Posts: 8417
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:02 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by mhalley »

Last edited by mhalley on Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
stan1
Posts: 8889
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by stan1 »

Agree with using Vanguard PAS.

If you believe your wife might need their services sooner rather than later you could go ahead and start it up now so that she doesn't need to worry about it. Being 50 and in good health is a different situation than being 80 with multiple chronic illnesses.
User avatar
Stinky
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:38 am
Location: Sweet Home Alabama

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Stinky »

smmsmm57 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:11 am ImMy wife is not good at all about anything finance wise. We have no children or relatives that I would want to ask to help her.

Is there any kind of "service" or other way I could have her consult with someone in terms of what money she should spend, etc? I know one answer would be "Well, she'll have to become a knowledgeable adult and take responsibility for herself" but I am not sure how well that will turn out.

Does Vanguard provide anything along these lines?

Thanks again for all the help!
The previous suggestions about Vanguard PAS are good for managing investments.

Is your question broader than that? Are you saying that your spouse doesn’t understand anything about the basics of your finances? Things like what your monthly income and expenses are, what monthly bills you have and how you pay them, etc.?
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt
Sage16
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:06 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Sage16 »

I am in the same situation with my wife and told her when I pass sign up for PAS. Then I started thinking about it and would she be confused on how to go about it, add stress in a stressful time and maybe it not ever getting done. So even though we are early 60's, I decided to go ahead and test drive PAS now with her IRA and get it setup so when something happens to me it is already done and she is covered. So far we are very impressed with the service and our assigned CFP. Backtesting shows the portfolio our CFP developed vs the boglehead portfolio I had for her has a .2% better annual return with a smaller standard deviation making the service almost free. The CFP has already pointed out some blind spots in our financial plans so we are getting value and I don't have to worry about her getting setup when I am gone. So far so good, we are happy PAS customer. Your mileage will vary but this is our experience so far.
Bogle on investing: Diversify, focus on low costs, invest for the long term. Don't speculate and don't be distracted by volatility.
lakpr
Posts: 6051
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:59 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by lakpr »

I would say drop everything into the Vanguard Balanced Index fund (maintains a daily 60:40 allocation) or the Life Strategy Moderate Growth fund (also maintains the same 60:40 allocation but with international equities and international bonds thrown in).

Target Retirement 20xx series also are a good option if you want a glide path that grows more conservative as you age.

Based on the previous recommendations that Vanguard PAS has provided, it seems they always want to push the international equities and international bonds into the plans that Vanguard PAS devises. Since you are getting that anyway with the Target Retirement series, I don't see why we should be paying the 0.3% for what you can get without their advice.

Nothing can be simpler than having everything in one fund, and setting up a periodic (monthly or quarterly) withdrawal from the fund if needed.
eucalyptus
Posts: 702
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:24 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by eucalyptus »

My father had the same concern.

Immediately after my mother informed Vanguard of my father's death (2019), Vanguard notifed my mother that their adviser could no longer assist her and she would have to reapply for the advisory program.

Vanguard greatly magnified my mother's distress at a time when she already felt overwhelmed. It was despicable.

Based on my experiences, I would never trust Vanguard to help a survivor and will make other plans for my own family.
tibbitts
Posts: 11875
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by tibbitts »

eucalyptus wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:49 pm My father had the same concern.

Immediately after my mother informed Vanguard of my father's death (2019), Vanguard notifed my mother that their adviser could no longer assist her and she would have to reapply for the advisory program.

Vanguard greatly magnified my mother's distress at a time when she already felt overwhelmed. It was despicable.

Based on my experiences, I would never trust Vanguard to help a survivor and will make other plans for my own family.
I seem to recall we've seen this issue here before here. Was the deceased an existing PAS client but not the beneficiary?
eucalyptus
Posts: 702
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:24 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by eucalyptus »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:06 pm
eucalyptus wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:49 pm My father had the same concern.

Immediately after my mother informed Vanguard of my father's death (2019), Vanguard notifed my mother that their adviser could no longer assist her and she would have to reapply for the advisory program.

Vanguard greatly magnified my mother's distress at a time when she already felt overwhelmed. It was despicable.

Based on my experiences, I would never trust Vanguard to help a survivor and will make other plans for my own family.
I seem to recall we've seen this issue here before here. Was the deceased an existing PAS client but not the beneficiary?

Not sure I'm answering your question, but: my father and mother had joint accounts.

Edit - multi-decade clients, Flagship. Mid 80s, undergoing chemo at the time. And, in any event, compassion? Decency?
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3219
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Lee_WSP »

If it's just managing the investments, put it all in a target date fund or balanced fund with instructions on how to find a replacement fund in case vanguard discontinues them. That's it. If she is good with a budget, she won't tinker with it and take her withdrawals from it.

Anything more would require a full blown money manager to pay bills, do taxes, etc.
mptfan
Posts: 6202
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by mptfan »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:37 pm If it's just managing the investments, put it all in a target date fund or balanced fund with instructions on how to find a replacement fund in case vanguard discontinues them. That's it. If she is good with a budget, she won't tinker with it and take her withdrawals from it.
You used the word "just," i.e. "it's just managing investments..." as if all of that is easy for most people. It's not. It's easy for you, yes, and it's easy for me, but for most people, this stuff is hard because they don't have the aptitude for it, or they just don't care and don't want to learn. Whether it should be that way is really not the point... it is that way and it's better to deal with reality as it is as opposed to how we wish it to be.
tibbitts
Posts: 11875
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by tibbitts »

eucalyptus wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:09 pm
tibbitts wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:06 pm
eucalyptus wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:49 pm My father had the same concern.

Immediately after my mother informed Vanguard of my father's death (2019), Vanguard notifed my mother that their adviser could no longer assist her and she would have to reapply for the advisory program.

Vanguard greatly magnified my mother's distress at a time when she already felt overwhelmed. It was despicable.

Based on my experiences, I would never trust Vanguard to help a survivor and will make other plans for my own family.
I seem to recall we've seen this issue here before here. Was the deceased an existing PAS client but not the beneficiary?

Not sure I'm answering your question, but: my father and mother had joint accounts.

Edit - multi-decade clients, Flagship. Mid 80s, undergoing chemo at the time. And, in any event, compassion? Decency?
I'm all for compassion and decency but wasn't involved in these conversations so I can't really say what happened. I'm guessing there is either a Vanguard regulation or legal requirement that precluded them proceeding without a new agreement. Financial business are very regulations-oriented and an employee could face serious repercussions from deviating even slightly, even if it prevents accommodating a client under difficult circumstances.
User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 6185
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

something to think about (though you didn't ask) -- how long will the $300k last in the event your wife no longer has your income to rely upon?

what I mean is, the two of you may be doing fine with both your SS, but if/when you predecease her, she will only get her SS or your SS whichever is greater.

That could be a drastic decrease in the amount of monthly income she has to rely upon (could be a 50% cut in income).

now that might be ok, if she's planning on taking the lost income out of the IRA (though you may find yourself doing that before then. RMDs start now at 72).

but that raises the question of how much income would she need to take out of the IRA and how long could she continue doing that?

these questions may not seem helpful, especially if you're in the retirement phase and any ability to grow the IRA may be limited, but it's something to be thinking about as well.

she could see a fee only pay per hour only financial planner:
www.garrettplanningnetwork.com
It's "Stay" the course, not Stray the Course. Buy and Hold works. You should really try it sometime. Get a plan: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investment_policy_statement
aristotelian
Posts: 8055
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by aristotelian »

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:27 pm she could see a fee only pay per hour only financial planner:
www.garrettplanningnetwork.com
IMO, $2-$3k for a typical fee only planner (even a "good" one) is out of proportion to their situation. This is an instance where a low AUM like Vanguard's or subscription service like Schwab's ($300 + $30/month) might be better than a flat fee.

OP, I would suggest killing that debt. 5% is a great guaranteed return, and it makes little sense to borrow at that high a rate in the current environment.
Willmunny
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:35 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Willmunny »

Thanks for the kind words about the site. I sympathize with your situation and you are to be commended for thinking about it now.

You may not wish to elaborate here, but I will take your assessment of your spouse's financial ability at face value. I think the threshold question is whether your spouse is willing and able to improve in financial education and decision making. If so, maybe spending the time with her and getting her interest and buy-in will go a long way towards solving the problem. Has she just deferred to you because she perceives you as being better at it, or is there are true lack of willingness or ability?

If you do not think your spouse is willing or able to improve and would be a danger to herself in terms of mismanaging the funds you wish to leave for her benefit upon your passing (e.g., disability, impulsive spending, being taken advantage of by others, etc.), you really need to seek legal guidance for her own protection.

I wish you well.
User avatar
AAA
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:56 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by AAA »

I assume Vanuard PAS is just for investments, maybe even just for investments at Vanguard. There is much more to one's financial life: insurance, taxes, managing subscriptions and paying bills, transferring between accounts, etc.
User avatar
David Jay
Posts: 9374
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by David Jay »

lakpr wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:50 pm I would say drop everything into the Vanguard Balanced Index fund (maintains a daily 60:40 allocation) or the Life Strategy Moderate Growth fund (also maintains the same 60:40 allocation but with international equities and international bonds thrown in).
This is what I am doing (LS Moderate Growth). Everything will go in to that fund (most already is, but I still have a few things to clean up over the next 3-4 years) in a tIRA and a Roth.

Her instructions:
1. Take RMD as QCD (to our favorite charities).
2. Spend from the tIRA to the top of "0" percent bracket.
3. Take all additional needed income from the Roth (not to exceed 5% of the Roth).

done.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
palaheel
Posts: 381
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:35 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by palaheel »

Schwab Intelligent Portfolio Premium (https://www.schwab.com/intelligent-port ... 9484566665)

and

Fidelity's hybrid robo advisor (https://www.fidelity.com/digital-invest ... lsrc=aw.ds)

are inexpensive alternatives to Vanguard PAS (not that there's anything wrong with PAS).

You might explore each of them with your wife, and let her pick the one she's most comfortable with. Also check whether Fidelity or Schwab have a local office. Establishing that relationship in advance is also an idea to consider.
Markets crash. Markets recover. Inflation takes your money FOREVER.
J295
Posts: 2594
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by J295 »

OP. I have a response, but first I want to make sure I am understanding exactly what it is you believe your spouse would want/need? Can you be more specific please?

Managing assets and cash flow?
Handling Medicare and Social Security and Social Security supplemental insurance? (How old are you?).
Budgeting?
Etc.
EvelynTroy
Posts: 456
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:35 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by EvelynTroy »

smmsmm57 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:11 am I continue to be amazed at how good this website is in terms of people providing
in-depth answers to my questions (some more dumb than others) Thanks to every one
I see a support this site button, will do so after this posting.

My finances are not all that complicated, I have an IRA with $300,000 and some debt
($10K) that is at a low enough interest (5%) to, at least in my mind, not take any $$ out of
my IRA. I try to make sure I have an adjusted gross income under the minimum tax bracket.
I am paying this off slowly such that it should all be done in 18 months. Am not signing up
for any more debt in the meantime.


Having said all of that, my question is this:

My wife is not good at all about anything finance wise. We have no children or relatives
that I would want to ask to help her.

Is there any kind of "service" or other way I could have her consult with someone in terms
of what money she should spend, etc? I know one answer would be "Well, she'll have to
become a knowledgeable adult and take responsibility for herself" but I am not sure
how well that will turn out.

Does Vanguard provide anything along these lines?


Thanks again for all the help!
I am single, female age 74 and my portfolio/finances are not that complicated either. However, for my family members dealing with anything financial at my death or incapacitation would be more than they could manage. The stress would be unbearable. When I solved this problem a burden was lifted.
The last thing I would do is turn my financial situation over to Vanguard, or any brokerage service with "personal advisors." Why, because it would be too impersonal and confusing for my family members - they are simple people, who are not interested in or know how to do business online. They need to sit down face to face with someone, and build a relationship.
I outlined my situation and how I solved this problem in this post (relative to your inquiry, starts about 3 paragraph down) - I also share an organizer offered by Vanguard that is top notch.
Maybe you will find this post of help - runs along the same lines as your inquiry.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=326484&p=5522942#p5522942

Stay safe. Evelyn
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5756
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by JoeRetire »

smmsmm57 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:11 amMy wife is not good at all about anything finance wise. We have no children or relatives
that I would want to ask to help her.

Is there any kind of "service" or other way I could have her consult with someone in terms
of what money she should spend, etc?
It's called a Financial Adviser.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
delamer
Posts: 10517
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by delamer »

If she’ll need someone to manage basic tasks like bill-paying and taxes, this type of service would be worth looking into: https://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-sa ... udget.html

(I have no personal experience with it.)
Tiger85
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:35 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Tiger85 »

Another consideration is to type up a word document as a "how to" for managing all financial things in your life and try and review it once a year so she's at least familiar with it. Hopefully you'll have better luck than me as my wife's eyes glaze over after about 5 minutes, haha.

I'm young (35) and hope my wife doesn't need it anytime soon, but I typed up a document (4-5 pages I think), that lists everything from life insurance, banking, credit cards, investments, bills, credit freeze info, etc. I review it once a year to update with any changes. For example at the beginning of this year I moved our savings from our bank to an AMEX online account, so I added that info.

Agree with others that setting up an advisor service is helpful for investments, but there are likely other aspects of your financial life that would probably be good to consider ahead of time as well.

Last year I asked about best way to handle life insurance payments for my wife if I die and got some good advice on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=272359&p=4370404#p4370404
RadAudit
Posts: 3914
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Second star on the right and straight on 'til morning

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by RadAudit »

smmsmm57 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:11 am I am not sure
how well that will turn out.
A lot of great suggestions so far. I'm using a few of them. (Post to Bogleheads, call VG PAS, etc.)

I sympathize with your situation because I'm in similar circumstances. I've been sending "Boglehead type" info and links to appropriate articles to the DW and kids for at least a decade. I send the DW and the kids annual updates on the portfolio and I let her know what I'm going to do to it before any change. (The biggest change is 90% of the total portfolio is in IRAs in two VG LifeStrategy Funds) DW and I discuss RMDs and QCDs, and SWRs; and, we do taxes together. She's still not interested. The year after next she starts her own RMDs. That'll be a learning experience. I still don't know how it'll all turnout for her and the kids. Mainly, because it is unknowable - unless you've got a lot better handle on long term portfolio returns and interest rates than I do, and how much they plan to spend vs. RMDs. So, I am in the process of giving up worrying about it.

As, a final spur to action, I left a note in the IPS, which she may get around to reading after I die, that simply states "I had it. You got it. Stuff's in the drawer. Good luck".

Edit: Added comment about spending vs. RMDs.
Last edited by RadAudit on Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.
LXEX55
Posts: 85
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:12 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by LXEX55 »

My wife is the same way. Although at first I was very annoyed at her for being so childish about finances, I now realize it is a topic simply beyond her comprehension no matter how many books she reads or how hard she tries. My written instructions to her are to move all money in our IRA to Vanguard's Wellesley fund. I considered a 50-50 mix of Wellesley and Wellington and in the future may change the instructions. I hope this helps.
MikeG62
Posts: 3088
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by MikeG62 »

Tiger85 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:57 pm Another consideration is to type up a word document as a "how to" for managing all financial things in your life and try and review it once a year so she's at least familiar with it. Hopefully you'll have better luck than me as my wife's eyes glaze over after about 5 minutes, haha.

I'm young (35) and hope my wife doesn't need it anytime soon, but I typed up a document (4-5 pages I think), that lists everything from life insurance, banking, credit cards, investments, bills, credit freeze info, etc. I review it once a year to update with any changes. For example at the beginning of this year I moved our savings from our bank to an AMEX online account, so I added that info.
+1

In my own words...

I have prepared a word document which sets forth in detail the steps she needs to take should I predecease her and how to manage her financial affairs going forward. It also includes a list of all of our financial accounts.

She has read it (more than once) and has even asked me questions where things were not clear to her. I think this has helped to a degree. I should probably have her read it periodically (once a year or once every other year) to really solidify the points in her mind.

One good thing is every time I establish a relationship with a new financial institution (typically taking advantage of promo CD offers or in pursuit of bank or brokerage transfer bonuses) her only comment is “make sure you add it to the list”.

On the investment management side, I’ve advised she hire a financial advisor and have indicated what she should look for in a financial advisor. Preference is to use a low cost CFP who charges a reasonable annual retainer (someone like a James Osborne) - not a planner who charges a fee based upon a % of assets under management (unless is it a very low %). I lean in this direction, because I think my wife may need a fair amount of hand-holding - more than she can get from a firm like Vanguard. We do have two adult daughters so she may be able to enlist their assistance.

In terms of discussing number with her, a few years ago I added a number of graphics (mostly bar/pie charts) to the excel file I use to track our assets and our spending (simple data pulls from the detailed data (blizzard of numbers) sheets/tabs). I print those graphs (in color) and review them with my DW. I have found this quite helpful in keeping her attention. Only after adding these charts and graphs has my DW asked second/third order questions as I walk her through the graphics. So much more effective than any other previous discussion of finances we have ever had. Also opened her eyes to where the money was going and how much she was using herself in a way she had never appreciated before. Even allowed us to get into a discussion of our SWR, which is something I had never had success discussing with her before. Truly a case of a picture being worth a thousand words (or in this case numbers).

I view this topic as a work in process. She is no where near where I’d like her to be, but in a much better place than she was when we retired five years ago. Kind of like RadAudit, at times I feel like I’ve done what I can and she may only take this seriously should I predecease her or otherwise become unable to manage our financial affairs any longer.

Good luck OP. You are not alone and I remain on the same journey.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
tibbitts
Posts: 11875
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by tibbitts »

MikeG62 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:20 pm One good thing is every time I establish a relationship with a new financial institution (typically taking advantage of promo CD offers or in pursuit of bank or brokerage transfer bonuses) her only comment is “make sure you add it to the list”.
If the objective is to make it as painless as possible to transition finances, things like chasing CC, band, or brokerage bonuses really aren't a good idea. Even if a professional is involved, you're dramatically increasing the possibility of somebody missing something important.
RyeBourbon
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:20 pm
Location: NJ/Philly

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by RyeBourbon »

LXEX55 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:20 pm My wife is the same way. Although at first I was very annoyed at her for being so childish about finances, I now realize it is a topic simply beyond her comprehension no matter how many books she reads or how hard she tries. My written instructions to her are to move all money in our IRA to Vanguard's Wellesley fund. I considered a 50-50 mix of Wellesley and Wellington and in the future may change the instructions. I hope this helps.
As an aside, TIL (today I learned) that Wellesley and Wellington were the same person.
iamblessed
Posts: 734
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by iamblessed »

lakpr wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:50 pm I would say drop everything into the Vanguard Balanced Index fund (maintains a daily 60:40 allocation) or the Life Strategy Moderate Growth fund (also maintains the same 60:40 allocation but with international equities and international bonds thrown in).

Target Retirement 20xx series also are a good option if you want a glide path that grows more conservative as you age.

Based on the previous recommendations that Vanguard PAS has provided, it seems they always want to push the international equities and international bonds into the plans that Vanguard PAS devises. Since you are getting that anyway with the Target Retirement series, I don't see why we should be paying the 0.3% for what you can get without their advice.

Nothing can be simpler than having everything in one fund, and setting up a periodic (monthly or quarterly) withdrawal from the fund if needed.
I would say the Life Strategy Moderate Growth and Life Strategy Conservative Growth would take care of 95% of retires after a spouse passes away.
desiderium
Posts: 960
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:08 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by desiderium »

Our situation is a bit complicated, some of which is my fault. If I were to die, things would be messy and my wife would need help

Several years ago I considered hiring a financial manager and interviewed several firms. I liked a local firm that includes CFP professionals and works for a capped fee that is very modest. While I did not elect to hire them, my suggestion to my wife is to call them right away should something happen to me. Vanguard PAS is a consideration, but my experience with investigating this option is that they are too generic to offer the kind of granular advice I would like to have in my absence.

Edit to add: The firm I recommended to my wife is very bogleheadish and uses all no load and low fee fund vehicles. You might look for this kind of firm in your area.
User avatar
1210sda
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:31 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by 1210sda »

RyeBourbon wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:27 pm
LXEX55 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:20 pm My wife is the same way. Although at first I was very annoyed at her for being so childish about finances, I now realize it is a topic simply beyond her comprehension no matter how many books she reads or how hard she tries. My written instructions to her are to move all money in our IRA to Vanguard's Wellesley fund. I considered a 50-50 mix of Wellesley and Wellington and in the future may change the instructions. I hope this helps.
As an aside, TIL (today I learned) that Wellesley and Wellington were the same person.
Wasn't he the guy who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo?
User avatar
1210sda
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:31 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by 1210sda »

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:27 pm what I mean is, the two of you may be doing fine with both your SS, but if/when you predecease her, she will only get her SS or your SS whichever is greater.

That could be a drastic decrease in the amount of monthly income she has to rely upon (could be a 50% cut in income).
And, typically expenses are not cut in half. Depends on how much you have in fixed expenses, or expenses that are not reduced if you go from two persons to one person. Examples are: property taxes, mortgage payments, telephone/cable/internet, yard maintenance, maybe utilities. Income taxes may go down if there is a decrease in taxable income, but offsetting that is filing "single" instead of "married filing jointly".

Not trying to alarm you, just trying to alert you to these possibilities.
RyeBourbon
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:20 pm
Location: NJ/Philly

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by RyeBourbon »

1210sda wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:26 pm
RyeBourbon wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:27 pm
LXEX55 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:20 pm My wife is the same way. Although at first I was very annoyed at her for being so childish about finances, I now realize it is a topic simply beyond her comprehension no matter how many books she reads or how hard she tries. My written instructions to her are to move all money in our IRA to Vanguard's Wellesley fund. I considered a 50-50 mix of Wellesley and Wellington and in the future may change the instructions. I hope this helps.
As an aside, TIL (today I learned) that Wellesley and Wellington were the same person.
Wasn't he the guy who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo?
Yes, Arthur Wellesley. 1st Duke of Wellington. (I like reading wikipedia).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_We ... Wellington
MikeG62
Posts: 3088
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by MikeG62 »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:09 pm
MikeG62 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:20 pm One good thing is every time I establish a relationship with a new financial institution (typically taking advantage of promo CD offers or in pursuit of bank or brokerage transfer bonuses) her only comment is “make sure you add it to the list”.
If the objective is to make it as painless as possible to transition finances, things like chasing CC, band, or brokerage bonuses really aren't a good idea. Even if a professional is involved, you're dramatically increasing the possibility of somebody missing something important.
Yup that’s true.

Having said that, I don’t expect to be chasing bank and brokerage bonuses in my 70’s or 80’s. But at 58 and seemingly good health (AFAIK), it doesn’t seem imprudent.

We do have quite a number of CD’s spread around too (3 different banks and 3 different credit unions). Those are all “on the list”. Yeah it would be some work for her to deal with. However, the yield pickup has been hard to pass up vs. sticking with one bank or CU, especially for the amounts involved.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
RadAudit
Posts: 3914
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Second star on the right and straight on 'til morning

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by RadAudit »

iamblessed wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:59 pm I would say the Life Strategy Moderate Growth and Life Strategy Conservative Growth would take care of 95% of retires after a spouse passes away.
We live in hope.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.
User avatar
1789
Posts: 1716
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by 1789 »

I would put all money into Vanguard balanced index fund 60/40.
"My conscience wants vegetarianism to win over the world. And my subconscious is yearning for a piece of juicy meat. But what do i want?" (Andrei Tarkovsky)
User avatar
1210sda
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:31 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by 1210sda »

smmsmm57 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:11 am I continue to be amazed at how good this website is in terms of people providing
in-depth answers to my questions (some more dumb than others) Thanks to every one
I see a support this site button, will do so after this posting.

My finances are not all that complicated, I have an IRA with $300,000 and some debt
($10K) that is at a low enough interest (5%) to, at least in my mind, not take any $$ out of
my IRA. I try to make sure I have an adjusted gross income under the minimum tax bracket.
I am paying this off slowly such that it should all be done in 18 months. Am not signing up
for any more debt in the meantime.

Having said all of that, my question is this:

My wife is not good at all about anything finance wise. We have no children or relative

that I would want to ask to help her.

Is there any kind of "service" or other way I could have her consult with someone in terms
of what money she should spend, etc? I know one answer would be "Well, she'll have to
become a knowledgeable adult and take responsibility for herself" but I am not sure
how well that will turn out.

Does Vanguard provide anything along these lines?

Thanks again for all the help!
This thread from longinvest might help.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=287967
mr_brightside
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:23 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by mr_brightside »

lakpr wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:50 pm
Nothing can be simpler than having everything in one fund, and setting up a periodic (monthly or quarterly) withdrawal from the fund if needed.
Agree. Pretty much exactly what they were designed for.

Just put everything in an appropriate Target Date and set an automatic disbursement of 1% per quarter.

The chances of that every running out are extremely low.
remember Enron?? I do
Stoic9
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:14 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Stoic9 »

I sit down with spouse and adult child every 6 months and review finances. Most goes in one out the other I think but some may stick. I used our Pan-
demic time to create a full 'Dead Book' that goes step by step what has to be done and what may be the best thing to do. It was a fun project as I actually acted out my death and called numbers to see what questions wee asked and what problem might arise. We are 63/60 and my retirement plan calls for me living till 75 +- 2 years and her 90 +- 4 years.
rich126
Posts: 1977
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by rich126 »

I'm not currently married but I think about the same thing with my GF (and likely soon to be spouse) since she isn't money savvy and didn't grow up with much (at least she isn't a big spender). Sometimes you see cases where a "friend" of the family wants to help out and the person thinks they know what they are doing but really don't. (One reason I try to always avoid using family/friends with money/business.)

I guess the best you can do is try and explain things, don't try to optimize gains but instead optimize simplicity.

Maybe doing things you wouldn't necessarily consider doing while alive. I'm assuming everyone is retired. Maybe split the savings and put 50% in an annuity where you don't have to do anything. And the other 50% in some kind of balanced fund, or a lifestrategy fund that Vanguard and others have. To provide stability as well as some growth.

Obviously depending on how well funded your retirement is, the options vary greatly. In my case a mid-range pension + social security would probably provide for all of the basics so potentially losing some money in an annuity would be better than worrying about someone trusting someone and seeing them (well I guess that would be impossible if you are dead) get put into costly funds or bad investments.

My other concern is that the person thinks they have more money than they do since they don't understand inflation and safe withdrawal amounts and wants to share it with family and then runs out early, hence another advantage of an annuity since it would provide a steady income stream, although not immune to inflation.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5756
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by JoeRetire »

desiderium wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:10 pm Our situation is a bit complicated, some of which is my fault. If I were to die, things would be messy and my wife would need help
Why don't you uncomplicate them now?
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
Big Dog
Posts: 2007
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:12 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by Big Dog »

I know PAS is a common recommendation, but I plan to setup an interview with Rick Ferri shortly to take care of the wife's investments should I go first. I believe that a named advisor would suit her better than an 800 number even tho we have 85% of all assets at Vanguard.
yogesh
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:20 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by yogesh »

Great idea. Leaving some of the boglehead advisors contact in IPS/will is fine act. Given the advice needed would be much more than just investments; having professional all inclusive help is desirable. e.g. talk about mortgages, debt, college funds, credit cards, bills and investments.
Emergency: FDIC | Taxable: VTMFX | Retirement: TR2040
desiderium
Posts: 960
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:08 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by desiderium »

JoeRetire wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:26 pm
desiderium wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:10 pm Our situation is a bit complicated, some of which is my fault. If I were to die, things would be messy and my wife would need help
Why don't you uncomplicate them now?
Haha good question. I am working on it.
mptfan
Posts: 6202
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by mptfan »

Stoic9 wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:55 pmIt was a fun project as I actually acted out my death and called numbers to see what questions wee asked and what problem might arise.
That sounds like a good exercise, can you share what you learned?
User avatar
djpeteski
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by djpeteski »

eucalyptus wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:49 pm My father had the same concern.

Immediately after my mother informed Vanguard of my father's death (2019), Vanguard notifed my mother that their adviser could no longer assist her and she would have to reapply for the advisory program.

Vanguard greatly magnified my mother's distress at a time when she already felt overwhelmed. It was despicable.

Based on my experiences, I would never trust Vanguard to help a survivor and will make other plans for my own family.
Behavior like this makes me wonder why companies hate their customers. Millions spent on advertising to be undone by a dumb process that no one has taken the ownership to correct. Sorry about this for your mom and you.
dknightd
Posts: 2322
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by dknightd »

We keep 6 months of expenses in a savings account. We are joint holders. I've made sure she can transfer money from savings to checking. She is the primary beneficiary of my retirement accounts. She knows how to use a telephone. She knows what number to call. I've tried to get her more interested. But so far all I get back is 6 months is enough for me to figure it out. And she is no doubt correct.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.
tibbitts
Posts: 11875
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by tibbitts »

Big Dog wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:52 pm I know PAS is a common recommendation, but I plan to setup an interview with Rick Ferri shortly to take care of the wife's investments should I go first. I believe that a named advisor would suit her better than an 800 number even tho we have 85% of all assets at Vanguard.
When you use a person or a small firm, you have to make sure there you have contingency plans. People go away, and small firms go away. Large firms go away too, but usually they're merged or ... well some part of them continues on in some form.
User avatar
LilyFleur
Posts: 1504
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Help for wife after I pass away

Post by LilyFleur »

desiderium wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:48 am
JoeRetire wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:26 pm
desiderium wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:10 pm Our situation is a bit complicated, some of which is my fault. If I were to die, things would be messy and my wife would need help
Why don't you uncomplicate them now?
Haha good question. I am working on it.
I am 60 and single. One of my goals for the next few years is to streamline my finances so that when my children inherit, it will be as painless as possible. I also want to organize my possessions better, which includes doing better on filing important papers, organizing all of the family photos, and weeding out and donating unnecessary possessions.
Post Reply