The financial challenges of widows who have children are unique and if managed incorrectly, can have long-lasting negative effects for years to come.
Being aware of these challenges can help anyone who is in this situation, or aid those that have family or friends that are in or soon to be in this situation.
The first thing to understand is the incredibly emotional time this is for a widow. Losing a spouse is life changing, and everyone can act in their own unique way but for sure the emotions are likely going to be significant. Making money decisions
soon after losing a partner can be dangerous, so having a trusted family member or friend to speak with can be vital so that rash decisions are not made.
A widow will need to make serious decisions on what to do with the proceeds from a life policy, as roughly 70% of families do have a life insurance policy. However, this money needs to last, so carefully deciding what to do is critical. Does the widow work or not, if not will she be able to continue not working and for how long? Can she afford to stay in the same home and send the kids to the same schools? What about the activities that the children have grown accustomed to like dance classes, vacations, sports and hobbies, are they accounted for? These and many other decisions need careful consideration, and that is where a financial planner who has experience with widows can be an invaluable resource.
Many widows are not only not the primary wage earners, but often are not involved in the household finances especially the investments. Being thrust into making financial decisions while simultaneously grieving and caring for children can be overwhelming so being cognizant of this dynamic is important for both the widow and her support system of family and friends.
The loss of a spouse will immediately impact a wife’s retirement, her kids’ college and her children’s’ wedding plans if she has daughters. If her children are young, these can seem like issues that are far in the future, but time has a way of moving fast and its better to address these issues within 12 months to ensure years don’t slip by.
Losing a spouse is traumatic and when children are involved the burdens and stress are exponentially higher. However, over the past 20 years resources to help widows cope and get help that is specific to them have been created. From books to non-profit services to financial planners specializing in widows and widowers, those in this unfortunate situation no longer have to figure out the finances alone or without specific guidance and advice.
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