What will happen to your spouse and your family when you are gone?
If you haven’t thought about this question before, now is the time to do it—particularly if your income is the main source of support for your family.
A recent New York Times article reports that more seniors are opting to create a “survivor portfolio” for their spouses: “For many do-it-yourself investors, the survivor portfolio could be part of a comprehensive wealth management plan that outlives you, to provide income and appreciation for the surviving spouse or partner.”
Earl Adamy, the senior profiled in the article, didn’t even have to create the profile himself. He used the portfolio website MyPlanIQ.com to find a template. Adamy works with an investment advisor to manage the portfolio for a flat fee.
The portfolio runs mostly on autopilot once it is set up; still, it is important that you outline your goals for the portfolio. How much risk is acceptable? What conditions will trigger changes in the portfolio? You should leave directions and plan for emergencies.
According to the Times, “Anyone setting up a survivor portfolio ideally would be someone with well-defined investment objectives who understands the various kinds of risk.”
That being said, if you don’t have investment experience, you should still consider long-term money management. You might consider talking with a financial or investment advisor about your options. Life insurance, for example, is another way to provide income to your spouse and family after your passing. It doesn’t require management like a portfolio; however, it is often paid out in a lump sum instead of over time.
Like any other end-of-life plan, it is important to discuss a survivor portfolio with your estate planning attorney. This can ensure that your portfolio fits in with your overall estate plan.