Disaster recovery plan for manufactured spend

Zhibek Arapbayeva of Kazakhstan falls during the women's freestyle aerials qualifications at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


This topic of conversation came up between 2 of my HH MS’ers.  It’s actually a good question – what if you got into an accident and now your significant other is left with $10K+ of gift cards – would they know how to liquidate them?  Think of it as a “disaster recovery plan for MS.”  I don’t have one in place yet, so we’ll just talk about it together.


Gift card liquidation

Let’s talk about GC liquidation first before we discuss the larger topic of finances.  Luckily I taught my wife how to load Serve cards at Walmart back in the day, so I’m fairly confident she could slowly liquidate the GCs at Walmart.  However, it’s been a while since I’ve taught her other liquidation methods, so let’s run through some options.

  1. Teach your SO how to liquidate themselves.  Unless your SO despises stepping into the armpit of America, you should try to teach them or at least have them watch you do an MS liquidation run.
  2. Have a trusted MS friend liquidate for you.  Of course you’ll need to trust that friend.  Surprisingly, I trust my MS friends (virtual or IRL) more than I do my real friends with a stack of cash or GC’s.  Maybe it’s because I know they have the float and aren’t looking to rob me; I’m not quite sure yet.
  3. Have your SO contact the MS friend.  This is a combination of #1 and #2 and probably the best option.  If she doesn’t know what to do, have her contact the MS friend to either teach her or liquidate for her.  It’d be shitty karma if they stole from a new widow.


Overall Finances

My wife has no clue about the household finances.  She doesn’t know what credit cards are in her name nor does she know how much our mortgage is.  This is where an app like Lastpass comes in handy.  If you’ve saved all your logins and passwords to it, then all she’ll need to know is the master password.  If you enabled 2 factor authentication, then she’ll need to know how to get into the 2nd authentication method.  If that’s too tech-savvy, may I recommend pen and paper although that’ll be tough to manage if you have to change passwords.



Whether you use LastPass or not, you should have a conversation with your SO on how to figure everything out if the need arises.  This post is just a reminder to get your shit together so that the shit doesn’t hit the fan if something ever happened to you.

  • anthonyjh21

    I use KeePass for my passwords and account information for anything from BestBuy to the DMV. For each entry there’s a separate notes box. In this box I put a short summary about what this account is and any specifics she may need to know on how to handle it. Granted I’m not up to date on everything but all in all I think it would do the job if ever needed.

    Like you, my wife really doesn’t have a clue about finances. While its more work for me I prefer that she let me handle it on my own. The last time she handled her finances she ended up with late payments on credit cards that are still to this day on her record (and part of the reason I just said let me deal with it!!). Thankfully I don’t have to explain anything to her and I have 100% decision making power on opening up new cards in her name. We share everything (and live in a community property state) so everything done is mutually beneficial anyways.

  • Michael

    Thanks for this. Planning for this is something not too many people think of.

  • Carl Pietrantonio

    Good post. I am single and live alone so this is something I have not really thought about. Guess I need to put together a plan so my kids will have some idea of what to do with all of Dad’s stuff. I think I will have to do the pen and paper thing though, along with other instructions as to what to do.

    Not to mention now I am wondering what happens to the points accumulated and not used. They are authorized users on some cards connected to some of my points, but if they can use them? Gonna have to look into that as well.

    • Miles per Day

      I think it depends on the bank. If I were them, I’d want to log into your accounts and book tickets in their name or transfer to their own programs. After they did that, I’d tell them to call the banks and close every one of your cards.

      • KP

        What happens to unpaid balance on the account? Assuming the SO had no legal liability for the dead person’s card account and does not pay it, does the account go into collections and ruin the ‘deceased’ person’s credit (as if that person would care enough about it)?

        • Miles per Day

          I don’t know the answer to this. I’m guessing the bank would go after the estate. Best to Google or ask an attorney.

        • Sid

          Great post and something to think about. People should plan. In answer to the question above I have a bit of knowledge on this. The answer is that it depends. It varies by state, but there would be a process by which the deceased person’s estate is processed through probate. As part of that, there would be notice given to creditors and they would have a certain amount of time to submit claims. The SO may, or may not have legal liability, but if they don’t then the claim would only be against the estate itself. In many cases the credit card companies do not answer the claim and it simply goes away. At some point, typically six months, a judge will rule that the estate may be settled and any claims submitted after that point are void.

          • Miles per Day

            Thanks for answering Sid.