Five things to discuss with your partner tonight (besides what's for dinner).

If you’re like most people, you’re usually too busy chauffeuring kids and placating bosses to give too much constructive thought to your finances. Taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule, however, could save you and your loved ones a lot of time and money in the long run. Make some time to talk to your partner about your finances. It may seem daunting, so here are five useful tips to make it easier and help you keep the conversation focused.

  1. Make a date with your spouse or partner to have a discussion.
    Put it on the calendar. Stay in or go out. Maybe even throw in a foot massage. It may seem a little too structured, but making a date to talk about money with your partner is a great way to help you avoid procrastination and just get it done.
  2. Create a proper savings plan for your family. Better yet—put a solid financial plan in place.
    With mortgage payments, gas, groceries, and so much more, it can be a real challenge to create and stick to a savings plan. However, families big and small need a financial plan that accounts for the current and future income needs of their households. The plan should also address what would happen if you or your partner died. Consider these questions when putting it all together:
    • How would you meet your daily living expenses, such as housing, transportation, food, and child care, with one income?
    • Would you be able to continue funding long-term needs, like retirement and your children’s education?
    • With one partner gone, how would the survivor handle any long-term care needs that arise?
  3. Make sure you both have enough life insurance coverage.
    Our Insurance Gap1 survey revealed that most people have only an average of three years of income replacement from their life insurance coverage—but they actually need and would prefer to have at least 14 years. Use our Gap calculator to assess your situation. Your life insurance agent can help you review your coverage and make sure you have enough to meet your needs. Call him or her—you’re bound to get some useful advice. Don’t have an agent? Don’t sweat it. Just use the “Talk to Us” tab or the “Consult an Agent” form on this page, and a New York Life agent in your area will contact you at a time that works for you.
  4. Don’t forget that some of the most important work doesn’t come with a paycheck.
    From packing lunches to making sure the bills actually get paid, many of the most important jobs in life aren’t on the payroll. Make sure your financial plan addresses issues like who will take care of the kids, how aging parents will be cared for, and who will manage your household needs and responsibilities.
  5. Create a file that includes important papers, and place it in a safe, central location.
    This is extremely important. Be sure the file includes account numbers and passwords, the names of any financial advisors, attorneys, or other professional service providers, as well as information about investments and insurance, bank accounts, and credit cards. You should also include mortgage and title papers if you own your home. Once the file has been created, place it in a central location, and make sure your spouse, partner, and other family members are aware of it. So as you head home tonight, remember: Make the time to talk to your partner about money. It’ll bring you peace of mind in the coming year—and far into the future.

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Further Reading
  • 1 The Life Insurance Gap Study was conducted by The Futures Company from April 24-May 1, 2013, through online surveys of 1,410 adults who had household income of $35,000 or more and household decision-making power. Of those respondents, 1,004 online surveys were given to participants who had at least $50,000 in household income and were married or had dependents. This sample mirrored the demographics of the 2008 study.