Editor’s note: Liz Seymour is a stay-at-home mom and author of ‘Moms and Money,’ a new clark.com series focused on helping moms establish a solid financial plan and better understanding of household finances — all while juggling the endless duties of a stay-at-home parent.
My husband, Tim, and I don’t talk a lot during the day. Really, at all. We’re just not chatty people and only send the occasional sarcastic text to convey cataclysmic events in the family or workforce. This is a system that satisfies us both, might I add. When evenings, and more importantly, weekends roll around, we take the time to catch up on what’s important to us, share some laughs and definitely sip some wine (often rightfully cited as the most expensive part of parenting).
Importance of information sharing
Being on a need-to-know basis should probably not extend to family finances, yet it’s been our default since day one of our marriage — when my banker husband saw my stack of unopened bank statements and permanently seized the reins of our accounts. I don’t blame him a bit for not trusting me with paying the bills, and I think he’s relieved that I haven’t shown much interest in them.
That said, while he is a superhero in our family’s eyes, he is still human. If an emergency were to arise, would I have the right access to the names and logins for our accounts?
We do have a list of passwords, but I will tell you they are not in a secure location, which might be the bigger transgression. A password manager, such as DashLane or LastPass will keep all of this information secure, often for free, so that you and your spouse only need to remember the one password to access the site. Armed with this, along with some other basic knowledge such as which bank we use, I could probably fumble my way through the most pressing items.
It would behoove me, though, to take this a step further and commit to memory our utilities providers, credit card banks and deadlines, along with any other monthly draws on the account (i.e. pest control, home security system etc.). Actually, my husband has helpfully detailed these things in a spreadsheet, so all I have to do is click on it every once in a while. Not quite as riveting as Facebook, but that’s adulthood for you.
Lastly, I really need to recognize that I should know how much we pay each month for, well, everything. No doubt Clark is cringing right now at the thought that I could not tell you what our average cable bill is, nor have I figured out how much we spend on groceries each month (particularly startling since I’m the one who buys them). In fact, as the primary shopper in our family, I’m surely missing out on several cost-saving opportunities – which just might be a great way to help us re-stock our wine supply.
So that’s next on my list.