Preparing for the “Just in Case”

The personal finance blogosphere is full of type A control freaks who likely handle the family finances. I personally take care of our finances — transferring money in and out of accounts, paying down debt, and making sure all the bills are paid on time.

Note: While I’m not always fabulous with money, I haven’t missed a single bill payment since we got married. You know how most cash-strapped people start by paying for food and then hope money appears for the bills? Yeah, I took the opposite approach when we were broke kids making minimum wage. We never missed a payment and somehow never went hungry either.

Anyways, a bit of a morbid thought ran through my head the other day as I was preparing for my plane to take off for St. Louis. What if something happened to me? While it’s not likely, there is always the possibility that I could die earlier than expected. (I’m shooting for 103.) If something happened to me, how would Steve know our financial system?

Now don’t get me wrong, he knows the account information for our bank and approximate numbers for our monthly bills. But he doesn’t really know the due dates. He doesn’t know much about the online bank accounts that I use to save and pay bills. Wouldn’t it be a terrible thing to not only lose a spouse but also get hounded by bill collectors?

This post is really not supposed to be this morbid. I feel like Daria. Let’s break it up with something ridiculous to lighten the mood:





Thank you, Parks and Rec!

Anyways, I was thinking about how to make sure Steve had all this information if something were to happen to me. Many people use a binder or file away the info but for renters who frequently change accounts, it would be a pain to update each time we moved or acquired a new account. So I came up with another idea…

This week, I will be putting this information into a secured Google doc that I will share with Steve. That way, either of us can update it easily if we need to. Here’s the information I will be including:

  • Bank account information including account numbers, routing numbers, and login information
  • Bill information including amounts, due dates, and the account it is coming out of
  • A list of our debts including interest rates, minimum payments, and due dates
  • My Roth IRA account information, for which he is the beneficiary
  • Online tax preparation information including our login information and PINs

Dealing with the “just in case I die” stuff is not fun. I understand that. But I would rather deal with it now than put my loved ones through hell later trying to sort shit out. This is also the reason that those individuals with dependents should have life insurance. And anyone who owns anything of consequence (or has dependents) should have a will. Both of these items are on my “as soon as I have children” list.

As a lot of you know, my grandpa passed away this month. He had absolutely everything taken care of before he passed so as not to burden his loved ones with trying to organize a funeral while grieving. That’s a truly awesome gift to give your surviving loved ones.

Anyways, I hope the one thing you take away from this is to get organized and make sure your spouse or closest loved one knows what’s up just in case. For me, today, it’s as simple as “this is where our money is and this is where it needs to go”. As time goes on, I will have to deal with harder stuff. And I will do so happily knowing that I’m making Steve’s life easier. You know, just in case.

Whew, sorry all for harshing your mellow. One more fun gif to bring your spirits back up?


Do you have a just in case file of your financial stuff? How do you update it? How depressed did I make you on this fine Monday?

[Images from Buzzfeed]


  1. I may be the best/worst person to sit next to on a plane since I used to design repairs for wing structures and landing geat for them, so I know a lot of “fun” facts about them.

    My wife should know all the financial information I am not convinced she does, so she will just have to go to our safe deposit box and grab the flash drive that is in there. Why would she go there you might ask? Well because we have a very nice ring I purchased for our 1st anniversary in there (well it was actually anniversary number 4, but since we got married on Leap day it was the first time we actually could celebrate on the 29th). In the end she will be ok since the only real bills she will need to pay are water/gas/electric, whatever the credit card bill is from last month and property taxes (which only happens twice a year). I think she will be fine.

    I am terrible because I don’t have a will, but since it is only my wife and my son, they can avoid probate court pretty easy right now. It is on my “to do” list, but right now it is pretty low.

    • Do you have life insurance? How do you feel about whole vs. term?

      Haha, I think I would feel better hearing about planes as long as you were giving me information that proves they are safe. In my head I know it is the safest form of transportation, I just get a bit uneasy when there is turbulence.

      • I have a crappy whole policy my grandfather pre-paid for me when I was just a wee lad. The salesman basically lied to him and it soiled him, and me to a lesser extent of the entire industry. So as a result we self insure. I would probably feel different if I still had a housing payment. If I had to pick at this point I would do straight term since I don’t believe in mixing insurance with investments.

        • Damn! I’m thinking 30ish year term when we start having kids. But we’ve still got a few years before we have to worry about any of that.

  2. I have one for my bank accounts (numbers and what they’re for), and I also have another file for online passwords, although that it not as necessary if you already just list out which banks you are with and your account number 🙂

    • I should’ve known that you were on top of things. You are my financial idol — save up a lot but still spend extravagantly on the things that are important to you 🙂

  3. I should do that. You are so smart for getting that started now. It’s not a fun convo to have, but a necessary one.

  4. I need to set up some “just in case” stuff of my own.. while my husband and I are equally aware of all our financial stuff, we don’t have things like wills drawn up yet – and considering we are constantly growing our assets, from our home to our retirement accounts, things would be an absolute mess if the worst was to happen to one or both of us. It may seem morbid, but it’s important stuff to think about! The only thing that might be worse than expiring prematurely would be to do so and then leave your loved ones without any information or legal documents to help sort everything out.

    PS – The Parks & Rec gifs just made my day/make considering morbid topics much easier 🙂

    • Exactly, Kali! While it’s not fun to face your own mortality, it’s much better than sticking your family with the struggle of sorting things out should something happen. Parks & Rec make everything better 🙂

  5. I have always taken care of our finances. Wes knows our bank account number and some general information about our bills, but I have always been the one to pay them. I always put it in my to-do list that we need to sit down and I need to show him everything, but it always gets pushed off to the side. If something were to happen to me, I honestly don’t know what he would do!

    • I hear ya, Michelle! This is why I’m taking care of things now. I can’t imagine the headache my untimely demise would cause. Along with extreme grief, because you know, I’m awesome 🙂

  6. My fiance would be pretty darn stuck if anything happened to me. I actually started making a spreadsheet after reading this post so that I could fill in the account numbers when I got home, etc. This way he will have something just in case.

    Also, loved the Daria reference.

  7. I am confident my boyfriend would manage to pay the bills and balance the budget but I really should have a will written up. I don’t have any children but even just the investment accounts would be a headache for my family to deal with.

    • Yeah, I’m not worried about that stuff just yet. All I have to my name is my IRA and my husband is my beneficiary. And it’s only like 5 grand.

  8. My mom had something like that, just in case something happened to her and my dad. She shared it with me in my teens, when I understood what it all was. Kind of morbid but better safe than sorry?

  9. To lighten things up, I did notice Ron was wearing a red shirt…. 😛

    This is a great post though. I haven’t worried about this myself because I’m not married, but I remember the first time I had this chat with my parents. Once I was 18, my Dad wanted to make sure I knew how to access all his financial “stuff” for the times he and my Mom traveled together. Just in case something happened to both of them at the same time. Prior to me being 18, my Uncle who would have been our legal guardian knew the low-down.

    I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to be unaware of all the financial information a deceased loved one handled. Good for you to make sure Steve never would!

    • Haha, I love that you love Parks & Rec as much as I do 🙂

      My parents have never discussed this with me, so I have absolutely no idea what I’d be in for if something happened to one of them. It’s not a subject I really like to think about, I have an easier time thinking about my own death that the death of my loved ones.

  10. Husband has access to our business account and he also knows the passwords for other accounts of mine. I am planning on creating some sort of a ‘in case of emergency’ envelope for him or something like this, if god forbid anything happened.

    • It’s a great idea to have that information accessible to your spouse, dojo. As soon as my debt is paid off, I want to create enough of a buffer in my accounts so in the event that something happened to me, he wouldn’t really have to worry about dealing with the finances for awhile.

  11. I found out a few days ago that my parents plan on making me the executer of their estate. When I meet up with them over Thanksgiving, they plan on going over all their different assets and what can be found where. I understand why they need to do it, but I’m really not looking forward to that conversation…it’s a depressing thought.

  12. Something tells me that when/if I get married, I will be the one handling the finances. But I also want my future husband to be able to know the system just in case I get swamped one month or something. That way, he’ll be involved from the beginning so there’s no surprises if I were to unexpectedly die or something. Thinking of death isn’t fun, but it has to be done!

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