While I have spent years teaching both Male and Female Financial Advisors how to help women who have lost a spouse this month I experienced it for real. My Dad, after 86 fabulous years died peacefully leaving behind a sizeable estate. My Dad was very proactive in planning for the future; his desire to avoid handing his hard earned money to Uncle Sam motivated him to take all the necessary steps to protect his and my Mothers wealth. I suppose that is why it somewhat surprised me to see my Mom experiencing the same feelings that other women experience.
Will I have to go on a budget? This is typically the first and most pressing issue for most all women who lose a spouse. Helping my Mom understand where her income would be coming from and how much income would be generated each month from her investments immediately gave her more confidence in her ability to maintain her lifestyle. Providing her with a simple monthly summary of income and expenses will help her become more comfortable with the numbers and more aware of what she can and can’t afford. Becoming more aware is probably the most critical factor in becoming more confident.
Will I end up a Bag Lady? There is no doubt that my Mothers tolerance for risk differs greatly from my Dad. Even my Brothers recognized the difference suggesting my Mom reduce her risk and focus on preservation and income. While my Dad was all about growth, we want to make sure that my Mom NEVER runs out of money. With newly established cost basis going to cash was a viable option while immediately reducing unnecessary risk until other options can be considered.
Keeping it Simple; Lastly we want to make it simple for my Mom to manage by consolidating accounts. While my Dad was comfortable having accounts in multiple institutions, combining all my Moms assets with her advisor who treats her with respect and makes her feel comfortable is and continues to be an important factor.
While my father did a great job accumulating assets without long term care insurance his stay in an assisted living facility could have overtime put my mother’s financial future at risk. Fortunately, given my Fathers acumen for building wealth my Mother was able to move him to a beautiful facility overlooking the Pacific Ocean making the move a more palatable process. While his time remaining was short I quickly recognized the devastating impact our health can have on eating away a sizeable estate.
My Father left a great legacy, plan and prepare for the future so that you can life a wonderful life.