Westerville Ohio Family Law | Getting to know your finances

Westerville Ohio Family Law

 

Getting to know your finances

 

It is considered sound advice to truly understand the finances of your household.  It may be that your spouse handles all of the finances, pays the bills, sets up and maintains the accounts; but what would happen if your spouse becomes unexpectedly ill, passed away, or you and your spouse find that you no longer wish to remain together.  Everyone should take an active interest in the home’s finances and they may be achieved by paying the bills together, asking your spouse about the accounts that you have.

If you do not already know how to manage money, now is a great time to learn.  There are many books, software packages and online apps that can help you learn about finances and money management or you may choose the old fashioned method of pen and paper.  No matter which method you choose the key concept is to learn how much money you have to work with and how much money is needed to meet your expenses.  This is the first step in taking control of your finances.   If you are having trouble making ends meet, this step will also help you determine if some expenses can be eliminated or if you or your spouse need to find additional employment to provide extra income.  This will also allow you to analyze your situation in the event that a divorce became imminent or if the main breadwinner of the family was unable to work.

Determining how much money goes in and out of the household on a monthly basis can be a bit of a surprise.  Often times, the non-bill paying partner may have no idea how much the household spends on utilities, food, or other essentials and this leads to the Family Budget.   An easy way to begin to create a budget is to collect all your receipts from the past several months.  Once collected, categorize the expenses into categories such as food, medical, insurance, clothes, utilities, gasoline, non-essential purchases, etc. and total the number of all of your expenses by category; divide the totals by the number of months that you collected items for and you should have a good idea of the “monthly amount” needed.  Also, take advantage of online budget worksheets as they will give you ideas and direction for your budget.   In addition to creating the budget for your monthly expenses, you should also know about and budget for any ongoing monthly debts such as mortgages, school loans, business loans, etc.  It is essential to know your debts and expenses if for some reason your spouse would no longer be part of your life, the budget you create will help you accomplish this.

No matter what your future may hold, you should also know where you have all bank account, savings and checking, passwords and pin numbers for these accounts.   You should be aware of all insurance policies, investments, CDs, and mutual funds.   Keep this information with all of your important documents such as Birth Certificates, marriage licenses, old tax returns in a safe, secure location, so that you have easy access in time of a crisis.

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