The top 7 mistakes that widows make
The loss of your spouse can be extremely devastating. Not only have you lost your best friend and life partner but you also now face the monumental task of dealing with many important financial decisions. Where do you begin? How do you make the best decisions especially if your spouse took care of the finances? Here are seven things to be mindful of:
1. Not being gentle with yourself
You are going through one of the most difficult and traumatic times of your life. Be gentle with yourself and take the time to heal. The feelings you may be experiencing can see overwhelming at times. Try to be mindful of taking care of yourself by getting enough rest and eating properly.
2. Making big financial decisions too soon
Making a major financial decision that is emotionally based is never a good idea. For example, it may appear that selling your home makes sense. However, these types of decisions could be a mistake both emotionally as well as financially. We recommend not making any major financial decisions in the first year and not before speaking with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® PRACTITIONER (CFP®) that is familiar with your situation.
3. Working with professionals that do not have experience with those that have lost a spouse
Even if you have taken care of the family finances in the past, when you lose your spouse there are many decisions that need to be made and, without proper training and experience, mistakes can be made. Some of these may not only be irreversible but also come with negative tax implications. We recommend working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® PRACTITIONER (CFP®) who has experience working with widows. CFP® practitioners are considered the “gold standard” in the financial planning field.
4. Not reaching out to a therapist, grief counselor, or support group
Losing a loved one is devastating. Seeking the help of a professional can be extremely beneficial even if you think you are doing “okay”. This is especially true if you are experiencing negative thoughts that could cause harm to yourself.
5. Suppressing your feelings
“To weep is to make less the depth of grief” - William Shakespeare. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel angry, be angry. If you are having trouble expressing these emotions, #4 can be even more important
6. Not being patient with yourself
People grieve at different levels and speed. Don’t listen to others that tell you that you should be over feeling what you are feeling or those who “know what you are feeling”. The loss of a loved one is different for everyone. Give yourself some time to heal.
7. Taking financial, legal or tax advice from a non-professional
Your friends and family care about you. However, the financial decisions you need to make are very different when you lose a spouse. You need a professional that has not only experience working in this area but also the compassion and patience to help get you through this difficult time.
You don’t have to go this alone. Before making any major decisions, please feel free to reach out to us.
I'm here to help.
All the best.
Rick Fingerman, CFP®
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client. Information herein includes opinions and source information that is believed to be reliable. However, such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.