There is no grief comparable to the death of a spouse. Whether the loss was expected or sudden, there’s no single way to cope. At Hiley Hunt Wealth Management, we understand this grief and know how important it is to find a new path forward for a widow and her family, especially when it comes to her financial future. Here are three important tasks for a widow’s financial planning.
1. Review Your Expenses
Make a list of your bills and identify how these expenses will be paid in the next several months. Limit big purchases until you have an idea of if and how these expenses will be covered, or if there are any adjustments to be made to your spending habits.
Consider things like cell phone, internet, groceries, car payments, utilities, and mortgage. Some of these expenses may decrease, while others, like your mortgage, won’t change. While you shouldn’t rush into any major decisions during such a difficult time, identifying how your expenses may change following the loss of your spouse can help you have a better financial plan for your future. Unless there is an urgent need, hold off on making decisions such as if you’re going to downsize your current home until you have had enough time to process your emotions and understand how you deal with your home’s maintenance.
2. Get Professional Guidance with Your Taxes
Taxes can be overwhelming for anyone. For widows or widowers, taxes can be even more overwhelming the first year after the loss of their spouse. We strongly encourage those who have lost a spouse to work with a CPA during tax time to ensure that investments and insurance accounts have been changed to the surviving spouse. This is also a great time to review with an accountant any investment and financial accounts that you may not have known or forgot about and remind you to review the beneficiary information for those accounts.
3. Examine Your Investments and Make Changes if Needed
It’s important to review your investment portfolio and rebalance as needed according to your new investment goals and risk tolerance. It’s common for widows to have a different level of risk tolerance compared to their spouses. As wealth management partners who have a specific focus on the financial needs of widows, we can help you review your investment accounts and determine your new risk tolerance and adjust your investments accordingly. Because even though your future may look different after the death of a spouse, it’s important to make a plan now to secure your financial future, whatever that may look like.
The depth and length of grief are different for every person after the death of a spouse. And while there are important decisions to be made about your financial future, these decisions must be made when your emotions and thoughts are sound and clear. Don’t rush into any major financial decisions while working through fresh grief. Time can help heal the feeling of immense loss. When experiencing grief, lean on trusted family and friends for help, and don’t make any decisions you aren’t comfortable with.
If you’re ready to discuss your financial future and review your options, contact us to get started on your new journey.