Money has long been a male-dominated undertaking, but now, a resounding number of women might be putting that stereotype to rest for good — at least when it comes to managing finances in the household.

Many women are happy to let their men make these decisions until the reality of the situation hits them hard. Then, when their significant other passes away, the widow or widower is lost regarding insurances, investments, and other critical financial matters.

Today, women shouldn’t wait for a divorce or the death of a spouse to take an active role in their finances, now is the time for women to act and get involved.

Many women will become widows or divorcees—and eight out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their financial well-being. Whether caused by an unexpected inheritance, the death of their spouse, or a divorce, women often wait for this “devastating” moment to start facing their finances.

There’s no denying that in some marriages and partnerships, one person acts as the family accountant, responsible for managing investments and budgets. Other couples periodically switch the responsibility back and forth, which helps both people understand their finances. But no matter how family finances are handled, both partners should have access to all joint accounts and records, understand all investments and be aware of all joint expenditures.

Knowledge is the power to gain your financial confidence and to control your financial future.

 

1. Organize All Your Important Financial and Personal Documents

Gathering all your important financial documents and keeping them easily accessible in the event you need them. Among the most important financial documents are your recent tax returns (SPT Tahunan) because they are the central point for some key information, including your spouse’s social security number (BPJS), statements from your bank accounts, mortgage statement, investment accounts and retirement plans. You should also gather other key financial documents such as insurance policies and credit card accounts.

2. Keep Your Financial Documents in Fire-Proof Safe or Safe-Deposit Box

Obviously, it is wise to keep all this information and documents in a fire-resistant home safe or a safe-deposit box. Keeping financial information only in a file on a computer or gadget is always risky, because the computer could crash or your gadget could be stolen then you could lose all the information. For important documents, you should scan them into your computer and then copy them onto a CD and save in fire-proof box or safe deposit box. This provides you with a back-up in case any documents are lost or damaged.

3. Make A List of Key Financial & Legal Contacts and Keep All the Passwords to Access Financial Information

You should also develop a list of names and phone numbers of your attorney, accountant, investment advisor, banker, insurance agent, and other important individuals who your spouse may need to contact if you pass away.  Many families have numerous bank or credit card accounts, you should list the name bank or credit card where you have accounts, each individual account numbers, and who each account is registered under. Therefore, knowing as much information as possible for each account can be vital for a surviving spouse.

If you are also using online banking and online access for financial accounts, you need to know how to access those online websites and accounts and have the user name and passwords so you can log in and manage the accounts.

4. Have Regular Discussion about Financial Issues and Estate Planning Matters With Your Husband

Married women should make sure they’re aware of their spouse’s financial arrangements and estate planning. They should take part in discussions about how best to invest money as a couple. As you are organizing your account information and files, it is also a good time to to agree upon a place to keep all this information and documents so both spouses will have easy access to the information in the event the other one passes away.

In addition, it is also advisable to share this information with people that you trust in your family so they can find the information and documents they need in the event that both spouses are deceased.