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Thread: Financial outlook in the new year

  1. #1
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Financial outlook in the new year

    For my financial outlook, I have a distinct feeling of having turned a corner.

    what I wanted :


    You all will remember my struggles last summer with moving money around and consolidating accounts. I had a fear of the stock market crashing. Also, I wanted a better view of the big picture for general asset allocation.

    I also wanted a general plan for end-stage-of-life for our money.

    what I completed

    I accomplished moving money around to consolidate accounts. Our household now has three brokerage accounts, all easily accessible online. ( Technically there are more due to my father-in-law’s estate but I’m not counting those because I don’t manage them and one of them will soon go away when the estate closes.)

    With online access I can check balances any time. I have access to DH’s accounts as well.


    To you all, online access is just a normal thing that you’ve been doing for years. See, I have not. DH receives reams of paper every year from these brokerage accounts. It was mysterious to me where the paper went and what it represented. I hope to move him off paper reports, but right now he is emotionally connected to the paper so he can have his paper.

    The key word in that paragraph above is “mysterious. “ That word is important because I felt as though I did not have a ‘way in’ to general financial data. We made an asset report once a year, And that was super important to me because that showed me the big picture. The huge problem with that is that it came only once every 12 months. I did not have a ‘way in’ to our households assets outside of that report.


    It has taken a lot of discussion with DH that includes discord, and a couple of conversations where we got very angry with each other, but it was worth it to get rid of the mystery.I would characterize the mystery as the fact that DH has been handling our money for 30 years and has his very detailed set procedures that I trust are eminently accurate. He’s very responsible with money. And I haven’t been at all interested in details and I’ve not been very interested in mid-level information. I wanted top level executive summary level information once a year but I would’ve liked that information more often. He was mad at me because he says I can’t understand the big picture without looking at the details, but I say yes I can.

    I would’ve also liked to see an overall allocation of assets, but that would require all the brokerage accounts be put into one pot to analyze. I now have the beginnings of that and will be using Wells Fargo’s tool. I think all the brokers have this kind of tool so it’s not some unique thing.

    This was a very strong year for the stock market, so we made a lot of money. The market crashed but came back up. It will drop again no doubt. I made a big push to move monies from income producing funds to cash funds. Obviously those cash funds did not grow but our income producing funds made leaps.

    Part II:

    I don’t have a plan in place for our final years.


    I have a clear view of what I would do if this was my money and DH wasn’t in the picture: I would give away all growth for the year. That’s a huge amount of money this year, and he won’t agree to that so instead I dole out bits and pieces, nickel and diming it to the organizations I want to support.
    The other hand, it’s kind of good that DH is in the picture to temper that.


    And the reality is that the one fund that is mine alone did not grow at all this year. All of the growth came from his IRA, our stocks, and our joint accounts.

    I am managing market risk by taking my funds and putting them in cash. So that means that “my “funds do not grow at all. There are risks to the strategy in that he gets rich dont.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 1-5-21 at 7:39pm.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    IL, I am glad that you are getting what you need in regard to finances. Despite my income taking a big drop because I will have a large savings and no one coming up with stupid ways to spend it. Also 3 years ago my son sold all of his and our bitcoin for other coins. Ugh! He is confident that it will go up a lot and that would be a big pile of money for me. In the past 7 years we made 60k off of our 3k investment. I don’t consider it a investment since we were willing to lose the 3k.

  3. #3
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    Now that I am employed again, the financial outlook is the same in the new year as in the old year - keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  4. #4
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Great progress!

    Having recently had to take over two different aging relative's accounts and manage their estates after their deaths, your actions ahead of reaching this stage are super terrific!!!!! It was simply a nightmare.

  5. #5
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    Congrats for moving forward on that project. I need to as well. DH has never had any interest in finances so if I go first, he will have to learn a lot. I agree that it's the stuff we leave behind that seems to be most vexing to deal with so the simpler the better. I recall my complete cluelessness about my parent's money matters since I was only in my mid 30s when they passed. Two separate households with mountains of paper. My father had at least ten different small life insurance policies which was a thing back then. He even had land in the Bahamas that had to be figured out since no one knew the details. Painful to deal with on top of grief.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    It has taken a lot of discussion with DH that includes discord, and a couple of conversations where we got very angry with each other, but it was worth it to get rid of the mystery.I would characterize the mystery as the fact that DH has been handling our money for 30 years and has his very detailed set procedures that I trust are eminently accurate. He’s very responsible with money. And I haven’t been at all interested in details and I’ve not been very interested in mid-level information. I wanted top level executive summary level information once a year but I would’ve liked that information more often. He was mad at me because he says I can’t understand the big picture without looking at the details, but I say yes I can.

    I would’ve also liked to see an overall allocation of assets, but that would require all the brokerage accounts be put into one pot to analyze. I now have the beginnings of that and will be using Wells Fargo’s tool. I think all the brokers have this kind of tool so it’s not some unique thing.
    Nice work, IL! From your previous posts on this, it was clear the journey was not as much fun as the destination.

    DW has a few friends in the "DH takes care of it all" camp. One has been debating a divorce for years now but has no idea where their money is (or how much is there). A couple of others are approaching retirement age and want to know when they might be able to retire. For most of these women, it's the first real conversation about money they've had with their DHs in some time. Or it will be once they muster up the courage to hold the conversation. If DH dies or such in the meantime, though, they won't have much of a clue.

    I've always been "the financial one" in this marriage. I find it more interesting than DW does and I actually rather like keeping track of it. But I wouldn't dream of not including DW on the conversations about where to invest. I don't expect her to say, "Oh, put half of it in VTSAX." But a good chunk of what we have was money she earned and I would want to honor her preferences in risk and make sure my choices pass a simple "smell test" with her. If i can't explain the investment to her correctly, or why we have our money there, maybe we shouldn't be in it.

    We do a "state of our union" financial report at least once a year (more so lately since we were on track to retire last year). Honestly, it took me maybe 20 minutes to put together an Excel worksheet with columns and graphs illustrating broad categories of our savings/income (bank, CDs, stocks, bonds, IRAs, pensions, etc.). You make a few assumptions (a mutual fund that invests in both stocks and bonds can easily be apportioned by their ratio to our investment amount) and voila! Yeah, it's a static document. i update it monthly to keep track (that's little more than logging in and cutting and pasting) and it's been enough for DW to understand our current investments and what we might choose to do with them. I think it would be possible to give you the view of investments you want without a lot of work on DW's part. But you know him better than I. We are in the process of moving what we can to Vanguard to simplify things, but it's not necessary to have everything in one account; it's just a little more work.

    A couple of years ago DW asked me to create a document for her listing all our investments, insurance policies, loans/credit cards, who to notify if I died or was incapacitated before her, etc. She has access to all that by going through my desk and using the password manager on my computer (to which she has the master passwords). But she wanted it on paper. So I put it on paper. She says it's one of the best gifts she ever got because it gives her peace of mind. It's another document to maintain, but we really don't change that much over time. I don't get into down and dirty specifics; i just say "We have $X in a Roth IRA at Vanguard. Here's the URL to log in; the ID and password are in the password manager app". DW can log in to see that 36% of the Roth is in a balanced equity fund and 63% of it is in cash/MM (or whatever). Doesn't really matter that much if the X I have listed is off by $20-30,000.

    It should not be that hard to get what you're looking for. Since our money is pooled I don't really see why it should be any other way. But I know it's not that simple for everyone.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    It's interesting when someone is the "nerd" and then the partner comes in and wants more involvement. That's what it's like in my household... for decades, I've painstakingly documented every penny spent. I've fine-tuned my various budget systems with categories that work great for me and are also reflective of our behavior.

    So one day two years ago, DH emerged from his lifelong finance fog with an intense interest in how we were spending our money. (The joke in the family is, no matter how much money he leaves the house with, when he comes back, he has $1. No more, no less.) So, I shared with him my online budget and even made it easier by transposing key categories by hand into a notebook to make it easier for him to read.

    Then came the questions: Why are we putting that in that cateogory? You have some broad entertainment categories, how much are we spending just on movies? Why don't you have a category for that? How the hell are we spending $700 on food??? You have to stop eating grassfed beef! That stuff costs a fortune!!

    Honestly, I had to draw on all the saints I knew who are known for their patience with prayers of deliverance. I knew that if I weren't patient, he'd lose his involvement in the family finances, which I know is a very good thing. OTOH, you don't get to come in and rock the boat in Decade #4!! Where have you been al this time?

    So, the one thing I like about Dave Ramsey is he demands full cooperation from both parties. One person can be the "nerd" but there has to be regular, continuous compliance with goals, spending and investment plans.

    My goal for 2021 that I have to get DH to agree on is to cut 25% out of our spending budget this year, in preparation for my downsizing work hours. THAT will be a fun conversation. (not).
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  8. #8
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Yes catherine, part of DH’s annoyance is that in this 4th decade, “all of a sudden” I want involvement or so it seems to him.

    But I DONT want involvement in accounts payable and accounts receivable, he can continue to do that work. It is the grunt work IMHO! And I will give him credit to changing a lot over to auto payments, something I urged him to do but left up to him.

    when I retired I had 3 big picture questions which he was not especially helpful with:

    1) how much do we have (answered by annual listing of assets)
    2) how much do we spend...crickets
    3) how much do we earn...sort of crickets, because DH launched into lectures about what do we really count and yadda yadda...

    so yeah, I retired before I knew the answers to numbers 2 and 3. Risky for lots of people,
    i suppose, but I knew we had enough assets to be fine, we would draw down what we needed.

    The first two years of retirement I added up annual spending so that I had a ballpark figure.

    Now I dont even add it up because I have a general idea of how much we spend. I have a fairly precise idea of income streams outside of investments. Our spending more or less equals income streams.

    So now, my big 3 questions are answered.

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Steve, I can see how useful your document is for your wife. I would want the same thing. We do actually have that and all of the end of life information in our “legacy” file.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I will also say that my day to day management of money would drive DH over the edge into insanity.

    We dont budget. We dont track. I dont balance a checkbook and never will.

    When I was single I spent little money and only bought the things I needed with exception for a year or so of clothes buying. I watched my checkbook balance remain the same. I didnt have to balance it in my mind Because I was monitoring the bottom line.

    Back then they didnt have auto payment, but
    i would have loved it! I hated paying bills, the work of it. If I could, I would set everything up for auto payment, look at the bottom line every two or three months, and forget about it.

    DH would never accept this level of hands off management. And that is ok, he balances our checkbook and prepares all tax documents and etc. I could do it if I had to for myself, but I would never be able to meet his standards.

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