80% of Women Die Unmarried While 80% of Men Are Married When They Die
That might sound like the setup for a cruel joke, but it’s not. It is a grim reality that should be a wake-up call for women everywhere. Recently, I shared the PlanStrongerTV™ stage with Kathleen Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, author of Moving Forward on Your Own. Having experienced the grief and emotional, mental, physical and financial upheaval of widowhood firsthand, Kathleen shared this statistic, and helpful advice, which I’ll pass along with a few tips of my own:
If you don’t currently handle the family finances, there are things you can do to transition into this important role. I’ve said it before – get involved. Make sure you attend all financial appointments with your spouse. Get to know your adviser and/or financial planner. Will he or she be there to assist you if your husband passes away and you’re on your own? Nearly 50% of widows “fire” their spouse’s adviser. The reasons? The adviser: 1. may not understand the grief process; 2. may lack compassion; 3. may not have built a trust relationship with both spouses; or 4. may only focus on pie charts and monetary gain. That’s not the kind of support most women need in the earliest stages of widowhood.
Review Policies and Accounts.
Make certain to check the beneficiary designations on all accounts. Are they correct and up-to-date? After your husband’s death, you wouldn’t want to discover that an ex-wife was designated as the beneficiary on an old life insurance policy!
Take the Time You Need.
If you do become a widow unexpectedly, don’t rush to make decisions, especially big ones (like selling your home). You will probably experience some very difficult emotional swings, and mental lapses, which are common after such a shock. Take whatever time you need to care for yourself, and do it at the speed at which you are most comfortable. You can then start to get your life in order so you can move forward. Be watchful for “financial sharks” that prey on the vulnerable. They are out there, so, again, refrain from any quick decision-making.
If you are a recent widow, or know of a friend or relative who is, I have purchased a limited number of Kathleen’s books. Please call my office for a free copy. And, if you would like to meet, I’m here to help.