Surviving a spouse’s death is beyond difficult. In addition to living with grief of the loss of your partner, new challenges arise that must be dealt with. If you’re a woman whose husband handled all of your investments and retirement planning, taking over this task and making major financial decisions can be insurmountable. 

We specialize in working with women in transition, such as widows. We want to help you make those financial decisions that are best for you and understand what that means for your future. If you’ve recently lost a spouse, here are three things to do to help secure your financial future.

1. Notify Agencies of Your Spouse’s Death

In the first few days and weeks after your partner’s death, the goal is just to take it day by day. Don’t get overwhelmed with thinking about the future. Handle what is important right now. At the top of the list is to notify the Social Security Administration, calling the life insurance company, and checking with your spouse’s employer if they were still working at the time of their death. 

When it comes to insurance proceeds, widows can typically choose between a lump sum or monthly payouts. The decision should be based on the widow’s immediate financial needs and whether they can earn more than the payout by investing the lump sum. 

There are different strategies for claiming Social Security benefits. A widow who reaches the age of 66 before claiming the benefit can claim the full survivor benefit, which is 100 percent of her husband’s benefit. A survivor benefit is available at age 60, but it will be reduced for each month she claims before she’s 66. There are other benefit strategies that a financial advisor can help explain and determine the best for each situation.

If a spouse inherits an individual retirement account, there are even more choices. If she is younger than 72 and does not need the money, she could transfer her husband’s account directly into her own IRA. and then update the beneficiaries. She would not be required to take annual distributions until she is 72, thus extending the time the funds can grow tax free.

2. Pay Your Bills

Whether your spouse was the bill payer or you are, you want to make sure that paying bills don’t fall by the wayside. Stay up to date on your utility payments and other incoming bills such as credit cards so that you don’t fall behind. 

3. Financial Decision Making

Having a financial advisor on your professional support team can be immensely valuable to giving you peace of mind about your financial future. An experienced financial advisor will know how to reposition investments to net additional revenue and be knowledgeable about financial benefits available to widows. The right advisor can not only diversify your portfolio, but also help you create a budget and long-term investment plan. 

Final Thoughts

We intimately understand the loss that is felt after losing a spouse. The ripples are felt far and wide. We are passionate about helping women in transition understand and take control over their financial future. We listen to each individual’s needs and create a plan that they are comfortable with and is right for them. If you need financial guidance during a difficult time, contact us.