Family Finances – Creating A Personal Finance Inventory


In our family, I used to take care of the finances. After years of paying the bills, deciding where to put our money, and worrying about where we would put our kids’ college savings, Ben took over. He took over not because I was incompetent at the task, but instead, because the finances were just another thing on my plate and him taking over was really taking a load off. What he took over was the role of physically paying the bills, NOT the financial decisions.

Ben’s father is a minister and either right before or right after we  got married, he shared with us that the #1 reason couple get a divorce was because people fought over money. MONEY! From that day forward Ben and I promised each other and made a spoken vow that we would ALWAYS remain on the same page when it came to money. We would plan the best we could, we would talk about it, we wouldn’t make big financial purchases without each other (in our mind, big is $100 – no buying over that amount without talking to each other).
Now all that said, I realize that people indirectly split because of money. Sometimes there are situations out of a couple’s control that put a strain so large on a marriage that they choose to go their separate ways. I realize that. The decision we made was to control what we can control.
Last month, I attended a blogger session at Vanguard where I added onto the learning I had already started by being involved in our family finances. We learned from Vanguard’s subject matter experts about saving for college, an AWESOME program called My Classroom Economy (that’s another post in itself), and great ways to include your children in learning about finances.
One tool that Vanguard gave us while we were at this session was a binder. It was a simple binder and it contained a packet titled Your Personal Financial Inventory. It was a 19 page packet made up of “fill in the blank” questions that takes you through every single finance topic in your life. The binder was also filled with a bunch of empty page protectors. After coming home from this session and looking through this binder, I realized how important it is for every family to have one. Ben and I have begun filling it out. It has been wonderful because, though both of us have handled the family finances at a point and we have an open communication about them, it forces us to chat about those things that we don’t generally talk about very often. But there are other reasons this is an extremely valuable packet to have in your home…
What happens if something happens to you or your spouse? No one wants to think of this occurring, but if something happens to the one that takes care of the finances, it can be a big problem. The last thing that you will want to do is scramble through documents for account numbers and history.
It makes it easy for both partners to look at the finances and keep them updated in one central location. 
Having a copy of your financial information all in one place is important in case of an emergency. Fire, flood, etc. 
Make sure the beneficiary of your will knows where to find this folder. 
Though of course all of these situations are not ones that we want to think about, aren’t they always the times that we wished we had something like this in place?
Grab Your Personal Financial Inventory here. Buy a 3 ring binder for less than $2, add some page protectors, and get talking! :-) You will be happy you did.
*Disclosure: Vanguard invited me to this event and provided me with educational materials, meals, and a gift card to offset travel and child-care expenses. The views and opinions in this post are my own.

About Lauryn Blakesley

A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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  1. That sounds like a great meeting to attend. Money is definitely the most stressful aspect of our marriage. OH MY GOODNESS.
    Life with Kaishon recently posted…baby toes & bad jokes = a perfect start for your Monday!My Profile

  2. I’m sad I missed out on the Vanguard talk, it sounds like it was great. I hope to work on family finances over the holidays when my husband has some time off.
    Carrie recently posted…Monsters University Viewing Party & Snack IdeasMy Profile

  3. Great inventory list and it is something that we definitely need!
    Becky recently posted…Nut Free Desserts for the HolidaysMy Profile

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