Who pays the bills in your household? For us it’s obviously me since I am blogging about it but recently I have had a few conversations with people about their bill paying practices.
One point from these conversations has been coming up more frequently. That point is are both you and your spouse or significant other named on your household bills? In other words, does the Cable bill come with your name and your mate’s name, or just one of your names?
This could be a big problem if it is just one of you. If something happens to the person solely named on the bill and the other person is not on it, making changes to that account can be slow and excruciating.
Example: I had a client tell me she paid the bills in her house but her husband always took care of the cell phones. He went out and got them new cell phones a few months ago and of course the bill was in his name even though he didn’t pay the bills but he was the one who opened the account. Her husband unfortunately died and now the cell phone company will not help her remove one of the phones from the account because her name is not on the bill. “He’s dead” she told them! They told her in order to change anything she has to prove he is deceased by sending them an original death certificate (which costs money). If both of their names had been on the account there would not be a problem. In talking with her she said it never crossed their minds to do anything differently.
That happens a lot. I made my husband put me on his credit card account so I could talk to them about an issue we were having. My husband opened the account but never thought to add my name. I love him but he is terrible with knowing what to say to these people over the phone so when we had a problem he would call and then tell them please talk to my wife and he would hand the phone to me. Adding me meant I could just talk to them myself without having to bother him at work.
Another example I heard about recently from another client was her husband had some dementia problems and he had had two internet routers installed and they were paying for two internet services! They obviously only needed one service but when she tried to cancel one they would not let her or even talk to her since she was not on the account. I asked her why she wasn’t on the account since she paid the bills for the household and again the answer was it just wasn’t something they had ever thought about.
After these discussions with others and from my own experience I am making it a priority to look at every one our bills to make sure that the correct name and both names are on them. Believe it or not I have two bills that still have my first married name on them because I have been too lazy to change them. I have been married almost nine years to my second husband! I just haven’t wanted to send a copy of our marriage papers in to change my name. Silly right?
Now I don’t want you to think this is just something that the older population has to deal with as they age and pass away. Making sure your bills have the proper names on them is critical at any age. God forbid you’re a 28 year old father of two and something devastating happens to their mother, your wife, when she gives birth to your third child and you don’t have Power of Attorney for her affairs and all of the bills are in her name…see what I mean? You just never know.
There are so many things to think about when it comes to being responsible with our money. Every day we need to work at it. What can we improve? What will make our experience easier? These are all questions we have to ask ourselves.
Next week I will check in with my end of month results! See you next week! -MM