5 things to discuss with your partner tonight.

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. Take 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 TO HAVE A DISCUSSION.
Put it on the calendar. Stay in or go out. 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.     PUT A SOLID ACTION PLAN IN PLACE FOR YOUR FAMILY.
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 an action 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. 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.     REMEMBER, 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 don’t involve a paycheck. Make sure your action 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 FOR IMPORTANT PAPERS, AND KEEP 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. You should also include information about investments and insurance, bank accounts, and credit cards—plus, mortgage and title papers if you own your home. Once the file has been created, keep 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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