Weekly Thoughts 25 August 2017

Many a time I read in some or other article or YOU magazine drama episode about someone passing away and the surviving spouse saying, “He (or she) handled everything and always told me there was enough money and now there’s not”.

About once a year I cover the brief and salient details of these areas of my life with my wife. I have recently done this. You might think of doing it with your spouse, your partner, some or other significant person or family member that needs to hear it. Children might need to hear it someday too. And it’s only the brief information that’s required. One doesn’t need to get too detailed or emotional or deep about this. So the conversation is, “I want to show you what we’ve got and what happens if I die and who is looking after the children.” “Why, are you planning on dying?” “No, but just in case…”.

I write the information out on one page. Keep it simple – must fit on one page. I begin by showing how much life cover will pay out if I die and how much disability protection I have if I become mentally disabled. Then how much retirement savings we have so far and how much we save into this every month. Then how much our other investments or savings come to. I don’t separate the information as per what and how much per different company, just a one-line item and one amount. I also mention who will help to invest the life insurance pay-out to provide a replacement income from me and who knows all the finer details about all of this.

Then I remind ourselves who is the children’s guardian and testamentary trustee/s if we both go and are we still happy with this. Lastly, who the executor of my will is. I write down the names and telephone numbers of any relevant people next to their purpose. All on my one page.

If children are relevant to the above, tell them, when they’re old enough for it, who would look after them and who will look after their money. We did this a long while ago. My son knew years ago who the guy would be who looked after the money. That’s what we called him: “The guy who will look after the money”. He is our nominated Testamentary Trustee. But our children knew him personally too, so that helped. We’d holidayed with them and gone to watch rugby with him. Made my son feel safe.

Do this. But keep it simple. Further discussions about is all of it enough or too much, must then be a different and subsequent conversation. This conversation must be the simple detail, the current information, as things stand, right now, today.