8 expenses every woman (most of these for men too) should plan for

by winemama

8 Expenses Every Woman Should Plan For

Your thoughts?

Advertisements

172 thoughts on “8 expenses every woman (most of these for men too) should plan for

  1. Long term unemployment would be the top thing to be prepared for at this stage of our lives. The other stuff would not be a big deal (aside from divorce).

    My BIL/SIL are having marital problems right now and DH is very worried about his brother’s financial future if they divorce. They walked away from a house 3 or 4 years ago that was only in my BIL’s name and bought the new house in his wife’s name. Then he quit his job to stay home with the kids so he has no job and bad credit. He’s totally dependent on his wife financially and so the whole situation has the potential to be really bad for him (although I should mention that he is probably the most at fault for their current situation so no one to blame but himself). DH and I are totally floored that he could be this much of an idiot.

  2. Rather than “That random time you need professional hair/makeup”, to make it more gender neutral, I’d say “That random time you need to look the part”. This could include a new, well-tailored suit, good hair cut/shave, make up, hair, etc. I have the money to look the part, but I don’t know anyone to go to in RI to help me look the part… I’ve never found a salon that makes me truly happy here. So, if I had a “we need you to look media-ready in 1 day” I’d have a panic attack regarding everything. I wouldn’t know if my current clothes would be worthy, and I certainly would need go-to places for the make up and hair.

    I think that’s the second part of this list – once you have the money, having the knowledge of where to go and who to see. Not that everyone should have a divorce attorney on speed dial, but knowing who to call to get good references in a pinch is important.

    Does everyone here have that list of contacts? The person you’d see if you needed help for any of these? Or a trusted friend who would keep your secrets while you pick yourself back up?

  3. @Rhode — I like your edit. I was annoyed at that one — it read too Barbie-ish for me (every girl needs to have a professional make-up artist on tap, just in case! Funny, I’ve been working 25 years in my chosen career, and I’ve never required that particular service.). OTOH, I think most people face situations where they need to up their game for one reason or another — e.g., when I had a case going to trial not so long after I came back from maternity leave and had to go buy new suits — so good to be prepared for it. My “go-to” is my SIL — she is much, much more into fashion than I am, and she researches and shops around for *everything* (she is the queen of buy-and-return), so if I ever need anything like that, I know where to start.

    My other must-do is the cabfare home. Uber is all well and good, but my kids will go out with cash in pocket just in case. One of the most uncomfortable times in my life was traveling abroad with a former roommate, when we let a guy talk us into going to a club — club was several miles out of town, we had very little idea where we were, and then the guy didn’t want to leave (my roomie was very cute, and he liked her and wanted to impress his friends with his two women), and my roomie didn’t want to walk out and embarrass him. After several hours, I finally just got up and started walking home, and he was embarrassed enough that he chased me down and gave us a ride back. But it could have ended up very differently.

  4. A lot of what is on that list can be boiled down to:

    If single: Have sufficient emergency cash accessible under ordinary circumstances (under extraordinary circumstances if you live in a disaster prone area) by next business day, plus a lifeline for a few months (family, credit, liquid assets that you might prefer to hold, even a 401(k) for longer lasting issues – if you are not working the basic tax rate is low and the 10% is better than homelessness).

    If married: Have some liquid assets in your own name and not in a joint account, and know enough about the family finances. Your marriage may be rock solid so that you never have to worry about the accounts being cleaned out, but even with all the proper paperwork if your husband is stuck overseas or laid low by accident or sudden disease you might have delays or barriers getting access to or managing all of the money you need to run your household.

    For both: Be willing to spend some of that put by money judiciously in pursuit of good physical and financial health. Health insurance. Medical checkups. Proper clothing, haircut, teeth straightening/whitening are not necessarily frivolous.

  5. The cab fare one was how I was brought up. My mom made sure I had a nickel (dime?) for the phone and a dollar for cab fare when I went out on a date. It was a long time ago.

  6. I cannot convince my young adult kids to carry cash. I dread the day when one of them contacts me to bail them out because some tech glitch leaves them without money.

  7. CoC – I’m like your kids… I very rarely carry cash. I know it’s wrong, that I should probably have a $50 or $100 in my wallet to cover emergencies. I just don’t. I’m so used to paying with cards now.

    At home, it’s a different story. We use the antiquated envelope method, which means we have cash at the house in random envelopes. If we ever need to raid that in an emergency we can (like during hurricanes or something).

    I may take a page from my great Aunt. Every month, she’d throw some cash underneath an area rug in her house. After her death, they found a couple thousand. Though I may stash mine in the flood/fire proof box.

  8. DD carries cash now because she once couldn’t pay with her phone at Starbucks. It was such a “crisis” that she always seems to bring at least $10 now when she is with her friends in town.

    I always have at least 20 – 30$ in my wallet, and I try to always have at least a few quarters and singles. The few times that I didn’t have small change – I was running into a store to pay a meter in a place that wouldn’t accept a credit card.

    I keep a small amount of cash at home too. I started doing this after that big blackout in 2003. It isn’t a lot, but it would be enough to get some food and gas if a store was only accepting cash.

    As for everything else, I think it makes sense to be financially prepared. I am not sure if you can really ever prepare fully for divorce, but I agree with all of Meme’s advice.

    The hair and makeup would take less than 30 minutes if you belong to the right Facebook group because I can usually get some great recommendations within an hour for most questions on some of the local groups.

  9. I’m a big believer in cash. I keep about $100+ in small bills and an emergency $100 bill with me at all times. We keep $1,000+ in cash at home in a safe. Some hundreds, but mostly twenties.

    My kids always carry cash. We started with an emergency $10 bill in their backpacks during elementary school. Now, they both have an emergency $100 bill in their wallets.

    All it takes is a city shutting down without power due to a hurricane to make one appreciate the beauty of cash. No power = no credit card readers.

  10. DW always has $100 in her wallet; it’s actually a Benjamin, so perhaps not the most useful in all circumstances. This is in addition to whatever actual spending cash she has. And she has probably $1000 in a mix of $50s and $100s in her underwear drawer. I usually have little cash, but sometimes I have a lot. DS3 still carries cash because he only has an atm card, not an actual debit card. Though since he got his license last week I gave him a Visa credit card in his name to keep in his wallet for emergencies/if he gets stranded. Although he won’t be driving too far afield in the next few months, I’m going to add him to our AAA account.

    I agree with Rhode’s edits and Meme’s boil-down.

  11. The blowout / makeup one struck me as odd. Need to get a good suit or something I could see, but like LfB, I’ve never had a professional event that required me to get makeup and hair professionally done. Perhaps that’s more of a NYC thing?

  12. Some of these categories were a bit odd, both in specificity and in the relatively trivial amounts involved. Actually, on further reflection, because the potential financial emergencies we face vary tremendously by income level and station in life, they weren’t as helpful as Meme’s concise summary.

    Back in the day, many of us living in urban areas carried “mugger money,” but didn’t see that on the list. Having a cash stash at home is helpful if you live in an area prone to power-killing natural disasters. (Do I follow this sensible advice myself? No).

    On health care, it would be a good idea to have ready access to deductibles and max out of pocket amounts, though my own experience was that it took months for providers to bill us and even longer to settle disputed claims, so instant cash access wasn’t critical.

  13. Did anyone else see this article in the Atlantic Monthly? It cites a survey by the Fed which asked people if they could come up with $400 if there was a sudden emergency. 47% said they couldn’t come up with $400. I was floored by this – it’s a survey of the general population. The author of the article then says he wouldn’t be able to come up with $400. He’s well educated, has published 5 books, written lots of articles, has a house in the Hamptons – and he said no one would ever guess to look at him that he couldn’t come up with $400.

    He blames it on stagnating wages – but sounds like he’s made some poor financial choices. Like borrowing to send his daughter to Harvard when he didn’t qualify for financial aid. If your daughter is able to get into Harvard – then she’s able to get in to places that would give a ton of merit aid. I would not bankrupt myself to send my kid to Harvard. And he cashed out his retirement plan to pay for his daughter’s wedding. Now he has to borrow $ from his daughter because he’s so broke. DH and I paid for our own wedding (our parents had little money). I hope to be able to contribute to our kids’ weddings in the future (or they could use the $ for a down payment on a house or whatever) – but not if it means cashing out our retirement!

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

  14. Younger folks, please explain to me what is wrong with cash. Is it that you want to track everything with Mint or similar apps? Is it the credit card points? Is it fear of being robbed? Is it speed of checkout? and that depends on the venue – It is always faster in the US (because we don’t use the little portable chip readers) to leave bills on the table at a restaurant than to wait for the credit slip to come back.

  15. “every girl needs to have a professional make-up artist on tap, just in case! Funny, I’ve been working 25 years in my chosen career, and I’ve never required that particular service.”

    I agree!

    I’ve never paid for my makeup to be done, not even for my wedding or when I was a bridesmaid

    “I’d say “That random time you need to look the part”. This could include a new, well-tailored suit, good hair cut/shave, make up, hair, etc”

    agreed

  16. Like borrowing to send his daughter to Harvard when he didn’t qualify for financial aid.

    It was Stanford. Then she was a Rhode Scholar and now she’s at Harvard Medical School. Now, why he’s in debt and not her? That’s another question.

  17. Meme, for me it is the nuisance factor: I have to get to an ATM, preferably at my own bank, which adds an extra 5-10 minutes to my errands.

    But until our sitters take PayPal or something I need cash.

  18. I use plastic for almost everything, it makes me nervous to carry a large amount of cash

  19. I’m not young, but I love credit card points. I am fine with trading all of my privacy for a point. I also like knowing that I have a record of everything i spend, and I can it is easier for returns or disputes.

    DD converted me to paying with apps at DD and Starbucks. I don’t mind trading even more privacy for the free drinks, and convenience of paying with my phone. I add money to the account when I am in the store or at home from my computer.

    I always have cash, but I prefer credit or debit.

  20. Younger folks, please explain to me what is wrong with cash.

    You have to make an extra stop at the ATM to get the cash. It seems like a needless extra step.

    Also, with the chip cards taking a long time, if you use Apple Pay or Android Pay it’s much faster.

  21. I can’t speak for other youngins’ but for me it was the “no cash, no spend” mentality. We got into some financial trouble when I was in grad school and DH’s wages stagnated. We went to the envelope method for just about everything – if we had money in the envelope we spent it accordingly. We opted to not fill the “fun” envelope in order to pay down debt faster.

    Even now, as we are coming out of the “dark ages” as it were, we are still very much into the “no cash, no spend” mentality. The other side is now we track our spending with YNAB (like Mint). We both talk regularly about budgeting out $200 for us to have cash on hand. We just never do it.

  22. Meme – I like the credit card points, so I am doing most purchases on my credit card than on debit or in cash than I used to in the past. I have only one credit card to prevent me from have too many open and putting balances on them.
    I wanted to say for men and women, I think it is important to think about were you to lose your existing job or had to work for money suddenly – what would you do ? And what skills would you require. This would come in handy in case of divorce, death, illness.

  23. BTW, I am definitely planning on hair and makeup for bat mitzvah. I did it one other time, and that was for my wedding. I will look tired in all of the pictures if I do it myself. I once had to take a professional photo for work about ten years ago, and I wish I had gotten prof makeup. My hair was fine, but I looked tired in the photos.

  24. I like Meme’s summary better. I usually have some cash with me, though often it is only $20. My DD#1 hates to use a debit card and usually has at least $20 in cash at school and more in the wallet she takes other places. I am encouraging the debit card (1) because she needs to know how to use it and not look like it is her first time and (2) because it is easier for me to auto deposit her allowance. We have a few hundred stashed at home for emergencies with no power.

    Meme – I think the difference is when some of us were younger you carried a checkbook rather than cash. You wrote checks at lots of places and used them to get cash back as well. Some stores in the day, if you had an account or even were a known regular customer would cash a check for free. The debit/credit card has just replaced the checkbook for many people.

    I tend to pay by credit card (earn cash back rewards and pay off balance each month) in most situations, but do often pay for food with cash when in a bigger group or when I’m in a hurry at a restaurant. However, several restaurants near us now have machines on the table that will show you your bill, allow you to pay and email you the reciept even showing the tip.

    Now my sad news…my mother passed away on Friday afternoon. I was with her and it was very peaceful. I miss her, but know she is no longer dealing with the pain caused by her failing body.

  25. Austin– I’m sorry for your loss.

    On the issue of cash, I have the same issue with not always wanting to run the extra errand by the bank. We spend more on groceries and gas in a week than I want to carry in cash, generally. I had my wallet stolen in college once, when I had very little budget room, and lost a couple hundred dollars (my “for the month” spending money) that I’d taken out of the bank. I think it’s just left me gun-shy about carrying a lot of cash. Thinking about it, that’s sort of a ridiculous reason to be worried about now.

  26. Sky – we have good friends who have babysitters that they pay via Paypal so it may be becoming a thing.

    I get cash out if I’m going out and have a babysitter. Also if we’re driving ourselves instead of taking Uber I’ll make sure we have cash to tip the valet. I took $80 out on Friday to pay our babysitter so I knew I could only be out until 11:00 because I was not going back to the ATM. Otherwise, I almost never have cash. I think I owe my oldest about $15 in back allowance at this point because I never have her $2 on Fridays.

  27. I’m so sorry to hear that Austin. It seems you did everything possible to make her happy and comfortable. I hope the upcoming year brings you some peace.

  28. If I remember the article correctly, it was the grandparents who paid for the kids’ education. So he can’t even use that as an excuse.

    Cash is one of those things I try to have, for all the reasons listed above, but I’m not always successful. Not for nothing, I have $15 in my wallet right now because I broke a $20 early last week on $4.98 tab at Chick-fil-A. DW texted me this morning to stop by the ATM to restock our cash at home since the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow.

    The list was indeed very specific to a Sex and the City sort of crowd. That’s the best explanation I have for someone prioritizing keeping an emergency hair stylist on retainer over any sort of preparations for a natural disaster.

  29. AustinMom –

    So sad. Usually when someone dies at an age younger than many of her contemporaries, those left behind are shocked or angry. But it sounds like she was both sick and tired.

  30. Why I don’t use cash unless forced: Credit Card Cashback/Points, Convenience, Tracking of spending, Possibility of getting mugged/losing wallet (if someone steals my CC’s I will not actually be out $$ in the end, but cash I can’t get back). I haven’t carried much cash for a long time & it would make me nervous to do so regularly.

    I cannot picture having a drawer/safe full of cash sitting around my house!

    I think most of the examples as broken down by previous posters make sense, but I did think that the Divorce possibility was odd. Just how much should a person in a seemingly happy marriage plan for divorce? How much is being morbid? Yes – make sure that you each have access to accounts and things like that, but I am certainly not seriously planning for the futre with one eye toward potentially being divorced.

  31. The author in the article reminded me of Anne Elliot’s father in Persuasion: he believed he ought to have certain things because of his perceived social class, and kept spending and spending despite the mounting evidence that he could not pay the bills.

  32. “Meme, for me it is the nuisance factor: I have to get to an ATM, preferably at my own bank, which adds an extra 5-10 minutes to my errands.”

    When we moved, I chose our new bank by the one in my building, specifically so I would have a handy ATM (too cheap to pay bank fees, too lazy to go out of my way).

    This is LfB, btw — temp computer.

    My condolences, Austin. Glad it was peaceful, at least.

  33. On the divorce thing… years ago a friend of mine asked how DH and I split our finances. I told her we didn’t. Once we married, we consolidated into one checking and one savings. And we’ve remained that way every since. This article makes me think I should have my own account.

    Does anyone here maintain their own checking/savings account to which your partner does not have access?

  34. Austin, I’m so sorry. Thinking of you.

    From a pretty young age, I was determined to save up an amount of “walking money.” I knew that I wanted the freedom to be able to walk away from a bad situation — be it a bad relationship, or a bad job situation, or whatever — and have enough money to tide me over until I was settled in a better place. I will encourage both my kids (my son as well as my daughter) to try to do the same.

    Maybe that’s just another way of saying to keep an emergency fund.

  35. “Does anyone here maintain their own checking/savings account to which your partner does not have access?”

    No, I don’t see the point.

  36. Only joint accounts here too, although we both have credit cards in only our names. I generally think that you should have joint accounts if you are married. My BIL/SIL who are having marital problems tried to each contribute 50% from their salaries to each household bill when my BIL was working even though my SIL made three times what he made. It just seemed petty.

  37. “From a pretty young age, I was determined to save up an amount of “walking money.” I knew that I wanted the freedom to be able to walk away from a bad situation — be it a bad relationship, or a bad job situation, or whatever — and have enough money to tide me over until I was settled in a better place.”

    Ditto. I call it my “FU Money”.

  38. We have mostly joint accounts. But I do have a checking account at the bank here at work in only my name for the convenience of being able to do banking during business hours without having to drive someplace (e.g. when I get around to rolling the change in the jar on my desk I can just take that in, if I need to order foreign currency, kinda offbeat stuff). It requires I direct-deposit $500/month, so I do and then I pay utility bills from that. My normal balance in the account is $1.00. Seriously.

  39. Rhode — DH and I have most of our assets in separate names (other than our house, and a modest checking account that we use for day-to-day expenses). He knows what assets are in my name, and what are in his (there are no secrets), but they are titled in our separate names.

    I grew up in a culture in which women had basically no economic power. I was determined that that would not happen to me. That was the psychology behind my insistence on separate accounts. I’m probably over-compensating for what I experienced as a child, but our separate-accounts system works for DH and me.

    I also am thinking about estate planning. If we held everything jointly, then at my death,all our assets would go to him, and at his later death could end up in the hands of people that I would not want inheriting my money (e.g. his second wife). With separate assets, I can plan my estate so that at my death, my assets and my life insurance will be in trust for DH; he can receive a benefit from the assets, but at his death, the assets will end up with my kids.

    Yeah, I know, I sound like a horrible wife. I kept my birth name, too!

  40. I have online savings accounts for various categories of spending, but they are all in my name because at the time I set up the first one, DH was not around to provide some critical piece of info — maybe driver license number? — and I intended to add him to the account later. Six years and seven more accounts later, I still haven’t done it.
    Our will is also in need up updating, but I haven’t scheduled that either. It’s been on The List for more than a year.

  41. I am very sorry, Austin.

    I have a separate account where I keep some money. I have no idea if my husband knows about it. Probably not. But, really, if there was some sort of need for me and the kids to leave, I have family that would help. And if we split up, my lifestyle is going to take a major hit anyway, so I guess I don’t feel like I need much. At this point, the chances of my husband becoming a drug addict or abusive are pretty low and I think I could ride everything else for some period of time.

    Things that I do that make me feel prepared – I always have a lot of bottled water, I try to keep the gas tank at least 1/3 full and we have hidden some cash around the house. I kind of want to get one of those shelf stable food kits that last a hundred years. I see how people become preppers, but my desire to have an uncluttered house is currently winning.

  42. Austin Mom, I send my condolences to you and your kids.

    My kids are too lazy and/or disorganized to take the time to get cash and keep it in their wallets. Me, I rarely use cash but I keep about $100 in my wallet and more at home to use when needed.

  43. Austin, so sorry for your loss. Big hugs!!!!

    I go to the ATM every once in a while and get $500. Now that the nanny has a debit card, I use cash much, much less frequently.

    Pro makeup – I did for my wedding and for my latest headshot on the firm website (they hired a makeup artist to come in, which was GREAT), but not otherwise. Maybe if you had frequent media appearances? When we were on TV last year I went to sephora and got them to give me samples of the HD foundation so I could use foundation for those shootings, but I still did my own makeup.

    Ivy – agreed.

  44. We don’t have any individual accounts other than retirement accounts. Everything else is joint (although NoB, our life insurance trusts would be held in trust for surviving spouse/kids). We did that when we moved in together about a year before we got married.

  45. Birth name = maiden name. I hate the term “maiden name.” I have never thought of myself as a “maiden.”

  46. Austin, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    it makes me nervous to carry a large amount of cash

    How does everyone define “a large amount of cash”?

    I would consider it to be around $200-250.

    Meme, for me it is the nuisance factor: I have to get to an ATM, preferably at my own bank, which adds an extra 5-10 minutes to my errands.
    …..
    On the issue of cash, I have the same issue with not always wanting to run the extra errand by the bank.

    The point is that you don’t go to the bank/ATM to take out the exact amount you need to spend every time. You just go once a week or two and then you have the cash on hand for when you need it.

  47. (e.g. when I get around to rolling the change in the jar on my desk I can just take that in

    People actually still roll coins? My banks have had coin counters for at least 25 years.

  48. ” My “go-to” is my SIL — she is much, much more into fashion than I am, and she researches and shops around for *everything* (she is the queen of buy-and-return), so if I ever need anything like that, I know where to start. ”

    There’s also L. She’s helped a lot of people here.

  49. You just go once a week or two and then you have the cash on hand for when you need it.

    Why would you bother with the extra step?

  50. “Does anyone here maintain their own checking/savings account to which your partner does not have access?”

    Me. Although the access restrictions are bank-imposed. We have one joint into which most everything goes, and then two individual linked accounts into which our “allowances” go; for some reason, I can access mine and the joint account, and he can access his and the joint account, but we can’t access each others’. I think each of ours were originally our own accounts pre-marriage, so they started out with some cash. Since I never spend mine, I also have a personal investment account that I transfer over the $$ to periodically.

    “I generally think that you should have joint accounts if you are married. My BIL/SIL who are having marital problems tried to each contribute 50% from their salaries to each household bill when my BIL was working even though my SIL made three times what he made”

    I have a knee-jerk very negative response to this, because I got this same load of crap from my SIL, who proclaimed in her all-knowingness that she was worried that me keeping $200/mo. in a separate account meant that I wasn’t “fully committed” to the marriage. No, it meant that I wouldn’t rip her brother’s head off when he frittered away $$ on something stupid, because he had his $200 to do whatever dumb-ass thing he wanted with, and I had my $200 to sock away (so as a family we could come in “under budget” every month, which mattered to me). So I’ll see you your troubled in-laws and raise you my mom and stepdad, who were happily married for 38 years without ever sharing a penny, even though he made 2x what she did for most of their marriage (and *she* was the one who insisted on splitting the bills 50/50). And I’ll re-raise you my former secretary, whose husband raided their joint accounts when he decided to take off with another woman and left her with two small kids and no money. As she told me, “who you marry isn’t who you divorce.”

    Well-matched people can make any arrangement work. Immature or poorly-matched people can render the best planning for naught.

  51. “DS3 still carries cash because he only has an atm card, not an actual debit card. Though since he got his license last week I gave him a Visa credit card in his name”

    How’d you get that for him? I asked my credit card companies about a card for DS, but was told by all of them that he needs to be 18 before they’d issue a card for him.

  52. I am very much like NoB. Separate accounts. The difference between my mother and MIL is basically one kept her own economic power after marriage and one surrendered every decision and penny. The contrast is vast. Now, years later the impacts of those paths still continue to be felt.

  53. Why would you bother with the extra step?

    Because a lot of times it’s easier to pay cash for things. And sometimes I go places where they only take cash.

  54. ” I asked my credit card companies about a card for DS, but was told by all of them that he needs to be 18 before they’d issue a card for him.”

    The credit cards i got for my kids starting at about age 14 were in their names but were actually
    “additional cardholder” cards on MY account. I thought most card companies would do that.

  55. Finn – I got my first Visa at 16. It had my name on it, and was my “emergency” card overseas (and calling card). I think my parents worked it out that I was an authorized signer on the account, but they were ultimately responsible for the bill. They also told me I had a $500 limit. I’m not sure that was the truth, but you never know. Either way I never came close to that amount, and always told my parents what I charged. I was a good little Totebagger in the making.

  56. Well-matched people can make any arrangement work. Immature or poorly-matched people can render the best planning for naught.

    This. It doesn’t matter if you have joint or separate accounts if you don’t agree on the fundamentals to make it work.

    I’m friends with a married couple and they keep everything completely separate to the point where we’ll go out for dinner, and they’ll each pay for their own share. It completely boggles my mind but it works for them.

  57. DD – do they have kids? Seem simple enough to have everything separate if married without kids, but seems like a pain to keep track of and divide up everything if there are kids involved.

  58. I can see separate accounts working better in a second marriage with kids, but for a 1st marriage I still believe in joint accounts but ultimately it is whatever works. It just seems overly complicated to me personally.

  59. Just how much should a person in a seemingly happy marriage plan for divorce?

    It’s not only that. Think of Meme’s friend the tax VP who got laid off in his mid 50s. Or the guy in the Atlantic article. His wife stops working and he keeps telling her everything is fine as everything starts circling the drain.

  60. Kate, they have one kid.

    Atlanta, I’m with you. I remember how much work it was in college with roommates having to divide up all the bills.

  61. I can see having a his and hers accounts for fun money, but it seems complicated for bill paying

  62. “This. It doesn’t matter if you have joint or separate accounts if you don’t agree on the fundamentals to make it work.”

    yep

  63. Fun money – we both get $300 on Amex per month. If we go over that we tend to check in with each other.

  64. I have online savings accounts for various categories of spending,

    I was curious how people handle that. Do most people just account for everything in their head. They have $100k in a savings account with $50k as an emergency fund and $25k for a new car and $25k for a new roof?

  65. I prefer a card to cash because I want to monitor our spending so I have a good sense of minimum possible spending in a month, and where we can cut if need be. I actually updated that this weekend as part of trying to figure out when the earliest one of us could stop working. (Layoffs still an issue here).

    All of our accounts are joint except for retirement accounts. My husband has a credit card in his own name and I set up our bill pay to automatically send a payment of $x each month. I set that up when he was racing motorcycles because I couldn’t stand to see what was being spent on a hobby I hated. We’ve just kept it because it works for us. I can pull his transactions into Mint if I want to look at our total spending, but don’t have to see the details if I don’t want to.

  66. For a lot of couples, I think having a bit of money to spend as you please is a good thing. For me, marriage is an economic partnership among other things, so I wouldn’t be happy if we had separate accounts beyond some mad money. As the lower and now no earner, this is to my benefit, but my husband feels the same way. But I don’t care what others do! I do find the arrangements that different couples have very interesting.

  67. The other issue with cash is that my day-to-day errands can vary tremendously – I really don’t know how much I will spend this week. I don’t think I am irresponsibly impulsive, but I may plan on getting groceries ($200), and add $100 gift card to the total for a family gift. A few other stops on the way home (gas, target, etc.) and a $200 errand suddenly becomes a $500 afternoon. I wouldn’t spend the money if I didn’t have a credit card, but they are necessary expenses so I would need to go back and spend it later. Unless I want to keep $1000 on me at all times, I can’t really anticipate what money I am going to spend during a day of errands.

  68. That’s what we do, Rhett. I mentally kind of keep categories of things, but in reality we have cash and we have investments. If I know we are planning on a big purchase, I will keep more in cash but other than that, no separate accounts for separate spending categories.

  69. no separate accounts for separate spending categories.

    I keep track of everything in Excel

  70. Rhett – we have three savings accounts but not for any real reason and I would rather just have one but have been too lazy to really streamline things. When we set up savings/checking with BoA they set us up with two separate savings for some reason (I think one has limits as to how many times you can withdraw per month). Then we set up an online savings account for the higher interest rate at the time, which is so negligible now that i might as well just close it.

    My goal is to only keep six months of expenses in cash and then just funnel the rest into our taxable account. I don’t anticipate buying a car in cash unless rates were really high and same for any major house repairs (keep a home equity line open).

  71. We don’t have separate savings accounts for separate expense categories. If there is a one-off expense, we put it into the budget (in excel) and then see when we will be able to pay for it by forecasting forward.

  72. I always have a lot of cash on me, but spend very little of it, because I am mostly going between home and office. DH buys more on a daily basis but uses his card for everything. So I have typically gone 3-4 weeks between ATM visits, while still having $100-200 cash on me (except for things like festivals, where everyone takes cash). But lately I discovered this mango chicken avocado salad I like, and now I’m just flagrantly throwing around $13 on lunch like I’m Richie Rich or something — second ATM visit in two weeks this AM.

    “Do most people just account for everything in their head. They have $100k in a savings account with $50k as an emergency fund and $25k for a new car and $25k for a new roof?”

    Yeah. We have a money market account that is our official emergency fund, and which also served as our new-car fund, our save-it-up-for-vacation fund, etc. But we also always kept maybe $10K extra in the checking account, because our monthlies tend to vary, and I like not having to worry about if a big Amex bill from vacation or whatever is going to push us over. Then when we did all the work on the house and they cut off our loan, I did not like how low our cash-on-hand went and how tight it felt, so we started to keep bonuses/raises/etc in the checking account to rebuild cash, and we kept doing it even after the work was done, until now our slush in that account is more like $100K. So now that is our car/vacation/home repair/garage fund, and we never touch the money market account any more, making it more like the true emergency fund.

  73. For me, marriage is an economic partnership among other things

    I agree, and we have all joint accounts except for retirement accounts. But I also agree that other people can do whatever they want with their finances!

    Like DD, we keep cash on hand at all times rather than getting cash out only for some specific purpose. I have a couple of convenient ATMs so I just get $200 out whenever I’m starting to run low. When we’re traveling and don’t have access to our bank’s ATMs we get cash back at stores to keep the cash supply up. At a grocery store / drug store / etc I’ll just use my debit card, but at farmer’s market / hole in the wall lunch place / mom and pop stores cash is usually needed or at least faster. And of course there’s the constant outflow for school stuff, kid allowances, and so on.

  74. Austin, my condolences. I wish we had a Totebag casserole brigade for you!

  75. We have separate accounts except for all of our credit cards. I used to think about combining our accounts when it came up here in the past, but it works for us. We married late, and we found that we had the same accounts at a lot of places such as Schwab and Citi. Both firms let us “link” the accounts so we get a higher class of service, but the accounts are separate. It works for us, and as was mentioned above – I really don’t think it is a reflection on our marriage because everything is shared. We finally created that password storage, and we do get old fashioned paper statements so I see everything anyway because I get the mail almost 90% of the time. Any account that we opened since we are married is joint, but that’s just some credit cards and something for DD.

    I would not recommend this for some of my friends, but it works for us. The only hassle is really the extra papers because we like hard copies for certain things, and there is extra work at tax time.

  76. As a second marriage we need to keep most things separate. i am joint on the account in which his pension and SS are deposited so that I don’t have to produce a power of attorney if he gets sick to pay his medical/custodial bills. He has most of the annuity income streams, I have most of the assets. As for day to day household, taxes, and vacation/entertainment expenses, we just work it out. Different bills are paid out of different accounts. Our overall planning is based on the normal assumption that I will outlive him, but the estate plan was made a more complex (relative to the amount of assets) in order to provide for the contingency that I can’t take care of him for some reason.

    I have recurring monthly cash expenses of 750 or so, so I don’t find keeping a bit more cash to pay at the Dunkin Donuts a burden. I use credit at the grocery for the enhanced cash back. I always carry about 250. I take my change jar in once a quarter to the supermarket machine and get an amazon credit (no haircut).

  77. Regarding cash, there’s a difference between having it and using it. I make it a point to always have it, but I rarely use it unless I’m paying the cleaning lady, going out with friends, etc. I guess it’s been drilled into me that it’s a safety measure.

    Regarding convenience, I’ve never thought about it as a hassle. When I withdraw money, I withdraw $500, keep $100 and stash the rest.

  78. We are lazy. No separate accounts, no fun money budgets, just a joint checking account, a savings account, and a brokerage account (which contains stocks, bonds). We tried to budget, but were too lazy to keep up. This works for us, as we tend to be savers. If we had different money habits, we might have different accounts.

  79. “But we also always kept maybe $10K extra in the checking account, because our monthlies tend to vary, and I like not having to worry about if a big Amex bill from vacation or whatever is going to push us over. ”

    We do the same.

  80. Ada, I use cash for the $5-$20 stuff, not the $100-200 stuff. For example, I went to Office Depot to get graph paper for DD the other day, and it just feels weird to me to pay for something that costs $4.38 with a card.

  81. “The credit cards i got for my kids starting at about age 14 were in their names but were actually “additional cardholder” cards on MY account. I thought most card companies would do that.”

    I thought so too, but when I called my card companies, none of them would issue a card for DS.

  82. We are lazy. No separate accounts, no fun money budgets, just a joint checking account, a savings account, and a brokerage account (which contains stocks, bonds). We tried to budget, but were too lazy to keep up. This works for us, as we tend to be savers. If we had different money habits, we might have different accounts.,

    This is us, except we’re both spenders, unfortunately.

  83. I’m with Houston on cash. I keep some in my wallet, and the most frequent uses are to pay for parking, and to pay my share when going out to eat with friends.

    DW isn’t good about keeping some cash on hand, so whenever she needs cash (her work group seems to have a lunch for someone every few weeks where they all chip in to order food and/or get a gift) she would clean me out, so I got in the habit of keeping some cash on hand in our safe, which I then replenish when it’s convenient, as opposed to having to make a trip to the ATM (and only our bank ATM, because I’m too cheap, I mean frugal, to pay ATM fees).

    Like Houston, I also keep a bunch of small bills handy. My dad taught me to carry small bills when you travel, for tipping, and he also taught me that one way gouging happens in emergency situations is not having change.

    Lately, another reason for having lots of singles and quarters is because DS has been catching the bus, and the buses don’t give change.

  84. Ada, we do the same as DD. One trip every week or to for $200 or so, used to pay for incidentals — lunches, DH’s sodas, run-in-and-grab-X. Maybe it’s an age thing — my experience with debit cards dates back to when they wanted to charge you for using it at a store and wouldn’t guarantee your money back if someone stole the number; and it wasn’t that long ago that a lot of places had signs saying “credit card minimum charge of $XX.” I do use a CC for all of our “real” purchases for the points, but like DD, it just feels weird to whip out a card for anything under $10.

  85. A few of our favorite old school Italian places will only take cash. There is local wings/pub place that only takes cash. It seems like the places that are beloved, or super popular can get away with this because they always have a line out of the door for a table.

    My local Chinese take out is starting to annoy me because she keeps raising the minimum for cc purchase. It just went from $10 to $15, and there are plenty of times that I do not hit the $15 min. None of the contractors, or service people that I work with will accept a credit card.

  86. DH has a bank branch in his building so if we need money I’ll usually just remind him to get some out but I really rarely use cash. I only put $200 each month into our cash account and we often have money leftover. I have no qualms about using a card to buy something that’s under $10 and all of the kids stuff is usually Paypal (field trips, class gift funds, etc.).

  87. When we first got married, we kept separate accounts because we just never bothered to combine. When we moved and had to open accounts at another bank, we got a joint checking account with a joint savings account linked to it. Her paycheck goes straight to the checking account, and mine goes straight to the savings account.

    We still have separate accounts at our respective credit unions from before we were married. Of the credit cards we use regularly, one is in DW’s name, and two are in my name, and DW has a card for her favorite department store. I want to make sure DW has a credit history and good credit rating in case I die.

  88. my experience with debit cards dates back to when they wanted to charge you for using it at a store and wouldn’t guarantee your money back if someone stole the number;

    Yup. I also have this mental block about the money being removed from my account instantly. It probably goes back to my poorer days of not being sure there was enough money in the account. I also still don’t feel confident if there’s an issue with the purchase and the merchant doesn’t resolve it satisfactorily that I will get the same protection with a debit card that I get with a credit card.

  89. ” I want to make sure DW has a credit history and good credit rating in case I die.”

    This is reversed in our house. Thanks to that c-card at 16, I have a great credit history and rating for my age. DH got his first credit card after college.

    I’m really surprised that card companies don’t do the “authorized signer” for people under 18 now. It seems like young drivers are stuck in the catch-22. You need credit to get credit, but no one will give you (or your parents) credit.

    Could you give them your card with a note saying they are allowed to use the card?

  90. Almost all places here accept credit cards. Some businesses do have a minimum. Now with a lot of different payment services, especially Square where it attaches to an iPhone or iPad even the food trucks accept cards.

  91. Austin, I’m so sorry. My thoughts are with you.

    Rhett – we have a Capital One savings account, and it lets you set up a million little subaccounts, which I do. So we have a separate savings account for tuition, travel, home improvement, and general. My paycheck is divided between all of those each month (after retirement savings). I am pretty sure that these are all set up as joint accounts, but I am also pretty sure DH has no idea where they are or how to access them. I keep him periodically updated, but he really doesn’t care.

    We also have a joint checking. DH’s paycheck goes into that, and after I pay bills any leftover goes to the savings accounts.

    We also each have a fun money account and transfer a few hundred dollars into those account each month. This is the $$ we use to buy each other gifts or when I need an unnecessary purse or he wants a couple hundred to go play poker with friends.

    I am by nature a saver. DH would be a spender, but he works so much he doesn’t have time to. I handle all of our money, so it works pretty well.

  92. I’m really surprised that card companies don’t do the “authorized signer” for people under 18 now.

    I’m surprised they ever did. You know how at the bottom of the receipt it says, “I agree to pay this amount in accordance with the card agreement?” You can’t enter into legally binding contract until you’re 18. So, if someone under 18 signs it, it’s not valid.

  93. Like DD and LfB, I eschew debit cards, and don’t even have one. I don’t see any benefita debit card would provide that I don’t already have from either my credit cards or ATM card, and debit cards have liabilities the credit card/ATM combination don’t have.

  94. Sorry Austin.

    We use a credit card for almost everything. Cash back and convenience are the main factors.

  95. Finn, my ATM card is a debit card. I didn’t realize banks still offer stand-alone ATM cards.

  96. “How’d you get that for him?”
    Technically, his account is a savings account linked to my (our, DW & I) set of accounts at BofA. When it was opened I asked for an ATM card in his name.

  97. Rhett – we have a Capital One savings account, and it lets you set up a million little subaccounts, which I do.

    Can you set it so that X% of each deposit goes into each account?

  98. Ah, wrong answer. (1) it’s a Capital One Visa that I’ve had for years. (2) when we took our big family trip over Christmas I asked them to issue cards in all the kids’ names so all our charges went one place and we settled up later, but I didn’t want to have to be dealing with separate accounts. (3) I don’t remember them asking for his age, but he’s (was) 16, and maybe that’s their cutoff.

  99. Austin, I’m sorry about your Mom.

    I pay babysitter/housecleaner/childcare/school lunches with checks. Small school expenses are sent as cash in a labeled envelope. I use a lot of cash in the summer, when I shop at farm stands, but pay for gas and groceries with a debit card, mostly because I don’t like to carry a lot of cash. Cash is slow at a full service gas station because they have to get change. Even my cash-loving father has started paying electronically for gas.

    Because I work in an open cubicle environment where I leave my purse all day, plus the fact that I’m a space cadet who could lose her wallet at any time, I don’t like to carry over $100 without a reason.

  100. @ Rhett – I’m not sure. My income is all through a partnership, so I get paid in lump sums that I just transfer. You probably could if you did direct deposit.

  101. DH and I have shared checking and investment accounts – but separate credit cards. That way if one of our cards is stolen or hacked into, we still have a usable credit card. And since our retirement accounts are through work, those are both in our individual names.

    There’s an ATM in my building so I just get $200 when I’m running low on cash. DD is the biggest drain on my cash – she sometimes needs cash for various school items (this weekend it was $10 for the lacrosse team dinner). I’ve switched DS to a virtual allowance. He gets $5 a week which I track on an excel spreadsheet. Since most of his purchases are for songs on itunes, things ordered via Amazon, or Xbox purchases, they’re all made on our credit cards anyway and I deduct the amount from the spreadsheet.

    DD is 16 and now has a debit/ATM card. It’s handy because if she’s going shopping for things that we are willing to pay for (e.g. back to school clothes shopping), she can just use her debit card and then we reimburse her by transferring money into her account. So much easier than having to give her cash to go shopping.

  102. I can’t speak to other banks, but Citi and Chase will make a stand alone ATM card without the debit card if you specifically request it. I just have the debit feature with Chase, and I do sometimes use it to get cash back at a supermarket if I happen to need cash.

    I really can’t stand Chase. I’ve used both of these banks on a regular basis for almost 20 years. It is amazing how much more difficult Chase makes it for everything. I really experienced this when I was the Treasurer for a local organization for two years. I was in a branch at least once a week for over two years with lots of cash and checks. Any time one branch would reject a check because it was not exactly right, I would just go to another branch and it would be accepted and deposited.

    It is the same when I need or want something from them on my account – it is such a hassle that I generally just go to Citi. We moved our mortgage to Wells because Chase wouldn’t match their rate for refi even though it was barely different, and we were customers for so long.

    DD, school and cleaning person are the reason for cash in our house. A few friends like to split checks with cash. It depends on my mood and available cash, but sometimes I will use cash instead of just charging the whole thing.

  103. So tempting Honolulu. Unfortunately, I’m having to donate several pots this week because I’ve run out of storage space.

  104. On the money topic — DH uses cash all the time. When I quit working a few years ago, I planned to make life as easy as possible for him. He should be able to bill hours and then come home and crash and have no other responsibilities. So I took to getting his cash for him from the ATM. Fast forward a few years, and he’s stuck at the airport, with only an expired ATM card and no memory of his PIN. Sigh. Of course he got home because he has a credit card. But talk about learned helplessness, and it’s all my fault.

  105. Austin – I am so sorry for your loss.

    I like to keep a decent amount of cash on hand, so I go to the ATM maybe once a week and get 3 or 400 out. I need some for my cleaning lady, and I usually give some to DH (or he goes to the ATM and gives me some money!). I use AmEx for groceries because we collect points on that card, but I use cash for anything less than 10 dollars. We also keep cash in case of an earthquake, because the big stores will be closed and the small corner stores will only take cash.

    Houston, I think you wrote that your kids carry a $100 bill – you might want to have them break it up to a $50 and a mix of smaller bills. As someone mentioned, the merchants may not want to make change.

    Rhode – we keep our money together and always have. I know this is a coincidence, but I’m just remembering that my college roommate scoffed at our joint accounts and proudly declared that all of her and her husband’s finances were separate. She just got divorced for the second time.

    Sky – Sir Walter Elliott: “Retrench?”

  106. HM,

    It seems similar to the VW scandal. Some senior administrator said, “Find a way to pass them or I’ll find someone who can. lest I remind you, you don’t have tenur.”

  107. Yeah, but it’s more than just not having tenure. She could have quit and gotten another administrative job of some sort.

  108. RMS,

    Nothing she did was was illegal (as I understand it) it was just somewhat unethical. Are we really asking adjuncts (of a certain age, without, one would imagine, two nickels to rub together) to risk homelessness in the name of academic integrity?

  109. Here’s an odd thing. Remember last week’s article on geography and life expectancy? The linked article had Honolulu down as having low life expectancy for poor women, at 80.3 years. But here’s Vox saying it’s 84 years for the poorest women: http://www.vox.com/2016/4/25/11501370/health-longevity-inequality-life-expectancy (select Hawaii and Honolulu county).

    I guess it’s because for the study in last week’s article, they were adjusting based on race? They would have had to adjust it pretty hard to turn Honolulu’s HHI <$28K population into something that looked like the US average.

  110. ATM fees – do people still worry about these? We’ve been banking online through our brokerages (first Schwab, then later Ameriprise) and have had all ATM fees reimbursed for the last 10 years or so. No problem getting cash anywhere, even overseas. I still use my credit card for almost everything except tipping the cleaning lady and paying babysitters.

  111. GFM – we use First Republic and we get reimbursed if we use another bank’s atm (but that doesn’t happen very often).

  112. ssk,

    Why did you chose First Republic? I’m curious what their value proposition is.

  113. I noticed two of my similar age peers are letting their hair be salt and pepper grey. When I read the professional hair/make-up bullet, I thought, “No woman engineer/physicist has ever been considered too unattractive to be competent.”

  114. Do you not need a crock pot if you have an Instant Pot? I kind of want to keep up with the Totebaggers and get one…

  115. Tcmama, the Instant Pot is multifunction so you do have the option to use it as a slow cooker, or for that matter a rice cooker. However, I still use my old slowcooker for that purpose — it’s a big oval one and I prefer the shape.

  116. We still use a local bank. There are some services it provides that online banks/brokerages can’t very well, e.g., safe deposit box, notary, foreign currency. They have enough ATMs in the areas I frequent that it’s not hard to avoid the ATM fees.

  117. Apropos of nothing, did you guys know that you can buy a wake boat that makes a wake sufficiently large for surfing behind the boat without a tow rope?

  118. Thanks for the condolences everyone. I’ve been on the phone a lot today.. funeral home,.attorney, life insurance companies, oxygen company, etc. Just now getting back to some pleasure reading.

    Last summer the credit card company issued my DD#1 (15 at the time) a signature card on my account. The credit union wouldn’t issue a regular debit card to her until 15 either. It makes it harder when kids travel without you. A lot of places don’t take the prepaid debit cards.

    Personally, I think you should have access to a credit card once you learn how to drive. I would rather my child use it to fill up with gas than run out, or have it to pay for a tire repair or other immediate issue where I may not be able to get to her timely or there is not enough in her small checking account for the debit card to cover. Yes, natural consequences are great teachers. However, being female and alone with a non-functioning car is not something I really want to risk.

    Individual accounts – yes. We have both been married before and we have no issues with money, but it is kept separate. When my aunt died over 20 years ago, I was the beneficiary of her pension. It is a very small amount on a monthly basis, but it goes into a separate account that will be used to help pay for my girls college expenses. Over 20 years it has added up.

    I also have a “Take This Job and Shove It” account that has about 6 months of expenses in it. Now that I am retired, I guess I don’t really need it, but it is comforting to know if I need emergency money, it is there. I also have a car account. My dad told me that when I paid off my first car, to keep paying that money to myself. It would pay for the next car and any repairs, deductables, etc. That has worked like a charm! I needed an 18 month loan for my second car and have paid cash for the rest.

  119. Rhett – 1st republic has excellent, excellent customer service. I consolidated my folks’ accounts (bank, brokerage) with them a few years ago. My mom loves them (the same would never be said of B of A*, Citi, Wells). It has been a good move from a convenience perspective. No atm fees, even in Europe.

    *although I am very satisfied with the service I get from BA

  120. tcmama – we use our instant pot as a crock pot more often than any other feature so far (Christmas present). The thing I like best, is even though the “pressure valve” is open, the instant pot seems to loose much less heat and moisture than my old one. The only down side is the shape. My old crock pot was oval which allowed some cuts of meat to fit in more easily. However, cutting the meat in advance or thinking about it when choosing my cuts is a small price to pay.

    We have started switching who cooks every 6 weeks. During my 6 weeks I used it 2-3 times week. His current 6 weeks, i think he has use it twice.

  121. We have mostly joint accounts, but I have a separate business account he can’t access (self-employed). We had separate accounts when we first married because we were in school and it was easier to keep the student loan and tuition payments separate. We don’t even do separate accounts for “fun money” because we just haven’t had any issues with seeing those expenditures, which seems weird but good.

    I had a credit card based off my dad’s account in high school and college. In the old days, it also worked as a calling card at any payphone if I needed to call him. As others mentioned, once I was driving I could use it if I was ever stuck. When I went to college, if he agreed to pick up the cost of something, I could use his card. I must have been a good kid because I was never tempted to put anything on his card we hadn’t agreed to– I didn’t want to disappoint him, make his finances suddenly not work, or lose the ability to carry that card. My credit score was better than DH’s for years almost entirely because I have a longer credit history, thanks to that card.

    Reading all of this, I realize that I mostly *do* carry cash, but almost never spend it. What happens, though, is that I pay the babysitter and realize that I used all my cash and need to get more. DH tends to run to the bank regularly and get cash for both of us. After having to get replacement credit cards three times in six months due to skimmers at the gas station, he now only buys gas in cash. We haven’t had any issues with fraudulent charges in many months since, now that I think about it.

  122. Rhett – Customer service, as Fred mentioned. We switched from B of A when First Republic opened up a branch in our neighborhood, as DH was not really happy with our B of A service.

    We don’t go into the bank much anymore for everyday reasons, but when we do need to, they are always very helpful and accommodating.

  123. We’ve been thinking about switching our bank account for a while, but have put it off because it would be a big task for us — all family member accounts, credit cards, bill-paying, etc. We’re not that pleased with the service overall, although our personal banker who is located less than five minutes away is very accommodating so that’s a plus.

    We only get ATM fees reimbursed for out-of-state transactions at other banks’ machines, and we have premium-level accounts. This is HSBC.

  124. The reason that I keep Chase is because there are a lot of branches, and my safety deposit box is with them at a reduced rate. I would leave if I have to pay for the account or fees.

    Citi is closing some of their overseas branches in certain countries, but I used to love the convenience of knowing that they would usually have a presence in most of the countries that I traveled to for work or vacation. They never charge me a fee for withdrawing money overseas, and I’ve just always found them easy to deal with about most issues.

  125. “safety deposit box”

    Who uses these, and what do you put in them? We don’t have anything valuable that we would keep in there. For notaries we use my assistant – I am a notary but I don’t notarize anything that DH signs.

    We use B of A – they are terrible for all of the centralized customer service stuff (800 number, etc.), but DH has a large business account with them for one of his businesses and does a lot of wire transfers, so we are in there fairly frequently and they are always very nice to us, probably because of the large balance.

  126. Also, ATM fees – we hardly ever travel and use cards when we do, so never need to use an ATM for an out-of-network bank.

  127. I need cash when traveling, for tipping bellhops, airport luggage handlers, and hotel maids. Since I like to be prepared, I regularly get change at my local bank — ones, fives, tens. A safe deposit box would be good for documents like birth certificates, auto ownership, mortgage docs, deeds, etc.

  128. Who uses these, and what do you put in them?

    We have one. I think the only thing in it is the original copies of our estate planning documents.

    For notaries we use my assistant

    Most people don’t have that convenience available, so the free notary at the bank is a handy service.

  129. I have originals of important documents either at the attorney’s office vault, or in a firebox in my home (keep it on the lowest level of the house). I also keep the occasional hard copy of tickets, the passports, some very old receipts in the firebox. But realistically, almost any document generated commercially in the past 15 years is available online. Scanned copies are in the computers with backup. The safe deposit box for is for jewelry and watches. It’s free at my local BofA branch. Instantaneous transfers. Branches in all the places I usually visit in the US.

  130. Huh. The ATM discussion prompted me to look to see if BoA has branches near our trip next month. Nope. For the first time in forever, I will be more than 100 miles from the local BoA ATM. That’s kinda like being out of cell service… it’s so rare in my world.

    Looks like we’ll stock up on cash before we go.

  131. “That’s kinda like being out of cell service… it’s so rare in my world.”

    I thought you were regularly farther offshore than cell range.

  132. Cannot imagine the conversation in which Matthew broke the news to his warmly welcoming parents. And the many conversations thereafter in which friends unsuspectingly asked them, “And what’s new with the kids?”

    That would actually be far more interesting to read than what Wofford wrote.

  133. Rhode, if you buy something with a debit card then you can get cash back. That’s usually free if it’s a supermarket or major drug store.

    We use the box for jewelry from grandparents and parents that died.
    We keep our marriage license, katubah and other similar original certificates in there.

  134. Austin, my condolences. You have been a blessing to both parents these past few years.

    We don’t keep a lot of USD, maybe $200 between DH and myself. I do keep some Euros, GBP and other currencies if I have some left over, just enough for a cab or to pay for some minor incidentals. I was in Prague recently with DD. We arrived without any Koruna and had to use some obscure cash machine (which turned out to be a legit bank, fortunately) in a sketchy area because the subway ticket machines only take coins, no bills, no credit cards. And the ATM dispensed the equivalent of $50 bills, which no one in that area wanted to cash. In a country where 1USD = 24 Koruna!

  135. I have a few friends who married guys 10-15 years older than they are and even that seemed like a lot to me when we were all getting married in our late 20s/early 30s. And I know lots of men on second marriages where the woman is quite a bit younger, but 20 years, not 40+. But the age difference in the article is crazy!

  136. We had to specifically request “dumb” ATM cards vs. debit cards. The bank’s reaction made me think that the request is very rare. I don’t want a thief to be able to clean out my checking & savings accounts without at least cracking the PIN though.

    We use a regional bank. Service from Citibank declined steadily over the years. We do not keep much money in our checking/bank savings accounts, and so we never qualified for premium services. We moved to the regional bank that holds our mortgage, and it has been fine. A good balance between large & small and better customer service. Still plenty of ATM’s in the places we regularly visit.

    We have pretty much everything joint. It works for us. My attitude on this is whatever works – every couple has to figure it out based on their own quirks and traits. People who are very poorly matched and don’t work well together on finances are going to have trouble no matter how their accounts are set up.

  137. Wofford was born in 1926 in New York City, the son of Estelle Allison (Gardner) and Harris Llewellyn Wofford.[5] He was born to a wealthy and prominent Southern family.[6] At age 11 he accompanied his widowed Grandmother on a six-month world tour. They spent Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, visited Shanghai shortly after the Imperial Japanese Army captured it, spent time in India where Wofford became “fascinated” by Mahatma Gandhi and visited Rome, where they saw Benito Mussolini announce Italy’s withdrawal from the League of Nations and a subsequent fascist parade.

    I bet he tells some fascinating stories. They’ve been together for 15 years (since the Senator was 75 and the kid was 25…). But hey, good for them both.

  138. Ginger, My parents had a similar issue with the Prague ATM a few years ago. My parents hate using credit cards and pretty much only use cash. So when they got to Prague they found an ATM with the same thought you had “is this legit?”. There was no English option, so it was all in Czech and they did their best to figure it out. Turns out they ended up taking out the equivalent of $500 (more than they intended), and when they got Stateside discovered that the ATM recorded two transactions of $500 USD. It took over 6 months for the bank to reimburse them $500.

    Of course after their trip my brother and I explained that they really need to consider using a credit card overseas, but it fell on deaf ears. They still deal in cash when overseas.

  139. I’m not sure I understand “dumb” ATM cards. Ours is for the ATM, debit, and credit. I almost always use it as a credit card, and if someone gets ahold of the number (as has happened via skimmers in the past) we are refunded like with our credit cards. To use the debit portion, someone has to crack the pin, which has never happened, although I believe I use the pin almost exclusively at Costco, and i prefer to use it as a credit card. There isn’t any way to clean out my account without the pin. I have had a delay accessing money when I use the credit card and it gets flagged for fraudulent use, but we have other accounts and/or credit cards and/or cash, and that hasn’t been a problem (so far.)

  140. Milo – I used to… not anymore. I haven’t gone that far out to sea in about 5 years. Since then I’ve been mostly nearshore, in sight of land. I also don’t go landward that much either. Everywhere I’ve been has at least roaming cell service. This trip next month will be the first time in a while I’m not near a large body of water (Great Lake size or larger).

  141. “That would actually be far more interesting to read than what Wofford wrote.”

    ITA. Also, all other issues aside, I thought it was weird, and maybe a little bit desperate to name drop, the way he summed up his wife’s illness and death by describing a phone call from Bill Clinton.

    Then again, someone who’s 90 years old is not usually the most coherent story teller.

  142. “I bet he tells some fascinating stories.”

    Perhaps. Whom would you cast to play Wofford in the movie?

  143. “Harris Wofford is a former senator from Pennsylvania, special assistant for civil rights to President John F. Kennedy and adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

    Yes, name-dropping seems to be important.

  144. Someone wired $5k out of one of our accounts last year. It only had a dumb ATM card associated with it and we had never even used it. So, I think all accounts are vulnerable. I switched banks after BoA was terrible about it. It tooks months to get the money back and they wouldn’t even refund me the wire fee for a month and only after I complained several times.

  145. Yes, name-dropping seems to be important.

    I bet that’s his personality and with age he no longer feels the need to self sensor. I also bet it’s how he wooed his fiance. People at the hotel bar are like that, name dropping and telling the most fascinating if improbable stories. Then you google them and it’s all true. Some of the regulars ask me why I listen to them and I say it’s because they tell the most interesting stories.

  146. Met a friend’s parents last month, and the dad seems to have some early age related dementia. I was with him for about an hour, and heard about the very important person he lived next to while on assignment abroad. I think he mentioned the name 3 times over the course of the hour (all in conversations where it wasn’t particularly relevant). It made me reflect that our impulse to impress people does not go away with age, but our ability to do so in a socially acceptable way might.

  147. A criminal can definitely defraud you of money from your checking account without a credit option on your ATM card. However, if your ATM card is stolen, and it has a credit option, it is much faster for someone to make a lot of Credit transactions until your checking account is drained.

    Yes, eventually you will be reimbursed for that fraud, but it takes longer, and it may cause payments to bounce, etc. If someone runs up fraudulent transactions on my CC, it is much less hassle to wait for the charges to be reversed. And in my experience, they are reversed more quickly.

    I just see no use for a credit/debit card linked to my checking account. They have no perks or cashback and only add to my risk and hassle were something bad to happen.

  148. “We had to specifically request “dumb” ATM cards vs. debit cards.”
    “I’m not sure I understand “dumb” ATM cards.”

    In this context, I think “dumb” ATM cards, besides not talking, only work at ATMs, and do not also work as debit or credit cards.

    I got a dumb ATM card automatically when we first opened our account, and later was offered the option to replace it with a card that was also a debit card. I saw no advantage to that, and also saw the disadvantage of having the account more vulnerable to unauthorized withdrawals, and declined that option.

Comments are closed.