Another reason to set aside emergency funds is because many widows report a substantial reduction of cash inflows after the loss of their spouse. Half of widows surveyed by WISER, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, reported losing 50% of their income. Imagine an unexpected death immediately halving the income on which you rely. Make sure you investigate what will happen to your income sources upon the death of your spouse, and plan accordingly.
It’s also important to involve yourself in your long-term financial plan. You should have a plan with your spouse, and a plan for when your spouse is gone. This requires a team of trusted advisors, often including a financial planner, wealth manager, accountant, and estate planning attorney. Knowing your plan, the values and locations of your assets, and your financial team will help reduce the financial shock and stress upon your spouse’s death.
When It’s Just You, Your Plan Should Reflect That
According to AARP, it can take anywhere from six months to three years for most widows to report symptoms of anxiety and depression subsiding. Some people never move past the loss. This is why it’s so important to target a strong group of trusted advisors in preparation for this eventuality. A combination of family, friends, and professional advisors can allow you time to grieve, and with less financial stress.
Having such a team also is important because of the vulnerable state grief imposes on people. The FBI reports that financial scams are on the rise, focusing primarily on widowed women over age 60. Prepare to avoid deception by working with a financial advisor with verifiable credentials like a Certified Financial Planner™, “CFP,” professional. According to the CFP Board, their practitioners “are obliged to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, and diligence.” The CFP Board rigorously enforces these standards.