Ask the Readers: how do you track your household finance?
When it comes to entering monthly incomes and expenses, Mrs. T and I are both very good at entering them in our budget spreadsheet. Because we’ve been entering things in the spreadsheet since 2011, monthly budget has become second nature for the both of us. Semi-annually, we sit down together to analyze the budget and see which expenses we can further optimize.
But when it comes to tracking investments, dividend incomes, and paying bills, I am the one that has been doing them.
The other day, Mrs. T mentioned that she felt that she’s too dependent on me when it comes to our household finance. First of all, she couldn’t keep track of all the investment accounts that we have. She knew that we have a bunch TFSA’s, RRSP’s, and taxable investment accounts, but she didn’t know which brokers we use. Although we keep a record of all the account numbers in our file cabinet, she wasn’t sure how to log in to all the different accounts. Furthermore, she was unclear how to log in to all the credit card accounts that we have so she could check the monthly statements (we use e-statements, so no paper statements). Luckily we have a joint chequing and savings account so she knows how to access this account.
“If anything were to happen you one day, I would be totally lost. I wouldn’t know how to pay our bills and I wouldn’t know how to track all of our investment accounts.”
This raised a huge concern for me and made me thinking.
Have I been taking too much control on our household finance?
By taking charge of tracking all of our investments and paying our bills each month, I have been slowly making Mrs. T more and more dependent on me when it comes to our household finance.
So today I’d like to ask the readers: how do you track your household finance with your parnter?
Here are some options that Mrs. T and I came up with:
Summarize all the account numbers on a piece of paper or in an email. Separately write down the login ID’s and passwords on different pieces of paper. Store these somewhere in our house.
Pro: easy access, everything is written down.
Con: Not secure. Someone else can potentially gain access to these information.
Summarize all the account numbers on a piece of paper or in an email. Write down all the login ID’s on another piece of paper. Store these information somewhere in our house. We won’t write down the passwords, just have to memorize them all.
Pro: Slightly more secure than option 1.
Con: Need to remember all the passwords.
A slight variation of option 2. Instead of writing down the login ID’s and not the passwords, we do the other way around. We’d write down all the passwords somewhere on a piece of paper. We’d memorize all the login ID’s.
Pro: Slightly more secure than option 1
Con: Perhaps not as secure because all the passwords are written down.
Summarize all the account numbers on a piece of paper or in an email. Memorize all the login ID’s and passwords.
Pro: Perhaps the most secure method
Con: Require complete memorization and can potentially forget the information.
I currently just remember all the login ID’s and passwords without writing them down. Between all the different email accounts, investment accounts, credit card accounts, and work accounts, I must have more than 20 different login ID’s and passwords. That’s not counting the social media accounts! Some of them even require regular password changes. For me, this is definitely a way to keep my brain active. Since I log in to these accounts regularly, memorization is pretty straight forward.
We have gone ahead and summarized all the account numbers. We have not decided which option we’ll implement though. Last night Mrs. T and I sat down together and together we logged in to all the different accounts and went over the overall process. The plan is to have Mrs. T tracking the dividend incomes and pay the bills the next few months so she is actively involved in the monthly process. Once she’s familiar with the process, she should feel more independent on our household finance.
Dear readers, how do you track your household finance with your partner? I’d love to hear your methods.