Helping Widows Navigate Finances
It’s not a new phenomenon that most American women work full-time outside the home. The number of women business owners and CEOs is ever climbing, albeit slowly. However, many of boomer clients and their senior parents still have so-called “old fashioned” marriages where the husband handles all of the family’s money issues.
Losing a spouse can be the most emotionally difficult time in a person’s life. This can be especially true for a new widow whose involvement in finances goes as far as her checking and savings accounts and little further.
Money matters once handled by a husband — paying monthly bills, managing investments, taking care of taxes — are suddenly a widow’s responsibility. Although it can seem overwhelming, there are steps to take to get widowed clients on their financial footing and moving forward.
First things first
Advise newly widowed clients to slow down. Take a deep breath. And don’t make any rash, long-term decisions.
That’s the first advice other experts give to those — especially women — who find themselves with much responsibility and little know-how, says The New York Times. http://tinyurl.com/kfx3sjv
There are things, however, that need to be done within a month or so of the spouse’s death, The Times notes. These include paying the monthly bills, taking care of taxes that might be due and collecting any life insurance policies the spouse left. Once those responsibilities are dealt with, it’s time to dive into the nuts and bolts of keeping the woman financially fit.
The Wall Street Journal tells the story of a woman who lost her husband and watched as her checking account balance dwindled to $150.
What the woman didn’t know — and what a financial adviser helped her discover — was that she had $25,000 in a credit union savings account and $100,000 in laddered CDs. She also owned a home worth a half million. And her Social Security income and her husband’s pension was more than $4,700 a month while her expenses were only $1,000. http://tinyurl.com/mbwxd33
Outside of her checking account, the adviser says, these other sources of income were foreign to her.
When a widow with little knowledge suddenly comes into a large amount of money, you can bet there will wolves at the door, says CNBC. http://tinyurl.com/kr542l5 Unscrupulous salesmen touting financial get-rich or stay-rich schemes are to be avoided, of course, but those closer to the woman can put the pinch on her, too.
A son or daughter can more easily prey on a widow’s emotions, saying, “If Dad were alive, he’d help me buy this car,” or whatever it is they want. But CNBC says to be firm and not to give in; being played can bring lasting negative consequences.
Later on, if a widow decides to date, she needs to be careful about a new man’s intentions. A background check is a good idea, including looking into his finances and whether he has a criminal record. If there are any red flags, show him the door.
We hope this information was useful to you, your clients and their families. To get more information regarding this or any related topic, please visit our website www.TEPLG.com or call us at 630-871-8778.