Thursday, August 20, 1998

Foolishly Providing for a Disinterested Spouse
By Alex576277 (

I swear, if anything happens to me, my wife will cash out all of our investments, break out a freshly washed Tupperware container (one with that little button thing in the middle of the lid) and bury all the fives and tens in our back yard. I've tried very hard to pique her interest but she just tells me not to lose it all and then goes off to do more interesting things until I leave what she considers to be the odd TV thing with the keyboard and return to more useful pursuits. You might say we have different risk tolerances and investment styles.

So, not surprisingly, it has occurred to me that, if I don't want my wife to be in the running for the position of employee of the month down at the local fast-food place, I should make some provision for her provisions in the event of my untimely demise. But how?

I've done a few things actually. First, life insurance. Sure we have a Foolishly growing pile of money but it isn't live-off-it-forever size yet and, if my income were to disappear, she just wouldn't be able to contribute to it on her own. In fact, I already told you what she'd do. She'd dig up a little each week until there was just dirt. With two toddlers, that concerns me even more. So I got a bunch ("bunch" is a technical term which is defined differently for just about everybody) of life insurance. But that, you say, just postpones the inevitable. True. I also did a will, in case we both get taken out by the same bus, but that doesn't fix the Tupperware dilemma either.

My solution is, I think, very Foolish. I have left instructions which advise my wife to take our, then her, pile of money, stocks, whatever, and go to a fee-only financial planner and forget about Beating the Dow this or Keystone that. Now you can guess how far I usually get with "instructions" to my wife, but I hope she would listen. She's never going to embrace Foolishness in its Motley sense (sorry guys) and she's never going to manage her investments actively. She has wonderful strengths but no interest in investing. It strikes me as very Foolish indeed to invest as well as possible while I can, maintaining as little debt as I can, and, if I ever should be unable to direct our investments, make sure that my wife has enough resources to live well and enough direction to know what help to get. Some folks may wish to consider a trust which could provide even more direction and protection. And, in many cases, that may be a great idea to consider. It isn't for me right now, however.

So much for thoughts on the subject. I didn't even mention disability insurance or recipes suitable for squirrel. If the market recovers well enough, I may never need to!

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