If you have been following Sixty and Me for a while, you know that we always try to focus on the positive aspects of aging. This is because so many of the things that people consider “challenges” about getting older are actually “opportunities.”
At the same time, there is no denying that some aspects of getting older are simply horrible. For example, nothing can quite prepare you for losing the love of your life. Even if your husband is sick for a long time, it’s hard to imagine life without him… until you are forced to.
Of course, it’s not just the emotional fallout from becoming a widow that women find tough. There are plenty of practical issues that we are forced to deal with when we suddenly become single again. At the top of this list is dealing with new financial challenges.
Many widows have told me that they were in denial about the very idea that they might lose their husbands one day. This is completely understandable. At the same time, many of these women said that they might have planned better for their lives as single older women if they had heard from other women who faced a similar situation.
So, despite the fact that this article combines two topics that we hate to talk about – death and money – I wanted to open it up for discussion here.
800,000 women in the U.S. are widowed every year. To put it bluntly, many of us are simply unprepared for the financial, social and emotional realities of being alone again after so many years.
For today’s discussion, I’d like to focus on the financial aspect of becoming a widow. If you have lost the love of your life, I realize that it may be difficult to talk about your experience. But, if you feel comfortable, I would appreciate you giving some advice to the other women in our community.
Here are a few questions to kick off the discussion.
What one piece of financial advice would you give to the women in our community who are still married?
How involved were you in your family’s investments before you lost your husband? In hindsight, do you think that you should have been even more involved?
Was there anything that surprised you about managing your money after losing your husband? For example, did you manage to navigate the rules around Social Security benefits for widows?
What other advice – financial or otherwise – would you like to offer the women in our community? Please join the conversation.