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Make sure your portfolio suits your spouse too

While Tim needs to sort out his portfolio for his own benefit, he is single and has no financial dependants. By contrast, Leslie has a wife and Rob has a wife and adult children. This means they also need to simplify their portfolios for the benefit of those that they might leave behind.

"It's important to consider what happens when you go under a bus," says Alan Steel, chairman of Alan Steel Asset Management. "Is your spouse as keen as you are on all this stuff?"

So we recommend talking about your investments together as a couple in retirement. And you should at least complete the 10-question risk assessment that I published last week to compare attitudes to risk. If you want something more detailed on risk, IC reader Bob Rutherford has written in to recommend

He says: "I came across them when reading Tim Hale's Smarter Investing book and for a modest fee of £16 in 2010, though now £30, completed their 25-item questionnaire. The final question asks for the user's subjective assessment of their likely score on a scale of 0 to 100. I thought 57 and my final score was 58, which was an interesting confirmation, placing me in the fifth of the seven risk groups they have defined.

"There is a degree of overlap between their 25 questions and the 10 you covered in your article. But the quite detailed report subsequently produced is a very worthwhile output, particularly in characterising how the individual's answers differ from the general characteristics of the group in which they place. Also worthwhile is the copy of the Q&A completed by the user which bears revisiting from time to time, for reflection, which your article has stimulated me into doing."

MyRiskTolerance has a section called 'Know your Partner better' in which it states: "Most couples have differing risk tolerances - in some cases the difference is extreme. Most are aware which is the more risk tolerant of the two but usually not the size of the difference nor where exactly the difference arises."

You also need to discuss what happens when you pass assets down to your kids. "You have a mess of a portfolio and then you die," says Alan Steel, in typical blunt style. "And then the remaining spouse wants to divide the assets equally between the kids."

How is this to be done? The fairest way might seem to be to split each holding between the children. However, Mr Steel says: "It's a nightmare to re-register lots of holdings and split them between the kids."

All this should be thought about and detailed in your will. November is Will Aid month, which makes it a great time to approach a solicitor about your will. If you use a local solicitor who has signed up to Will Aid, instead of paying your solicitor's fee, you will be invited to make a donation to charity. For more information visit: