Our Accounts Are in My Husband's Name
Problem: "My husband has all our savings and investment accounts in his name. I'm worried about protecting myself financially in case something unexpected happens."
If you and your husband haven't already merged your money, now is the time to do so. First, use a joint checking account (rather than separate accounts) for primary household expenditures. "When your family finances are contained in a single checkbook, it ensures financial honesty," Opdyke says. Every mom should also have a credit card in her name to maintain financial autonomy. And it's a good idea to open your own IRA account too. Spouses who don't work outside the home are eligible to contribute up to $3,000 per year. "You need retirement money in your name in case you get divorced or your husband dies," says Peg Downey, a financial planner in Silver Spring, Maryland. Also make sure your spouse has enough life insurance to support you and your children in the event of his death. Downey suggests coverage equal to ten times his annual salary. Consider a policy for yourself too: While you may not generate income, your husband would be faced with costly full-time child care in your absence.