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In most marriages one of the two partners handles all of the family finances. If that person suddenly dies then the surviving spouse has to suddenly handle financial matters that he or she may never have dealt with before. That's just not a good situation.
According to a Fidelity survey published on CNBC.com, 43% of their respondents admitted that they do not know how much their partner earned.
You can avoid this by making sure that the both of you are aware of each other's assets and accounts – even if only one of you handles the financial daily tasks. You could consider having a joint bank account as this would make it easier for the surviving partner to easily access money without having to go through the probate process.
Finally, if you have adult children make sure to share information about your financial situation with them. You need to let them know what insurance policies, banking accounts and sources of income you have so if you can no longer handle your own finances they can help you. If you don't provide them with this information will have to spend hours and hours trying to put the pieces of your financial puzzle back together on their own.
#6. Failing to get financial help
If you're lucky you work for a company that offers its employees some financial planning resources. If you're really fortunate this can include access to financial advisors for one-on-one counseling. If so, you need to take advantage of this benefit.
A survey done by TIAA-CREF learned that people who did get professional advice were able to save more - specifically when it comes to their retirement. If you're not so fortunate and your employer doesn't offer financial planning services, you need to find a financial planner on your own. There are two sites, NAPFA and Right Financial Advisor where you can get matched with a financial planner.
None are insurmountable
The good news is that while any one of these failures could sever ties your finances there are none that are insurmountable. You need to take the right steps to make sure you overcome them and the real key is not to wait to get some financial help.