Lisa recently lost her husband and soul mate of 23 years to cancer. Broken hearted, Lisa began the daily challenge to roll herself out of bed and try to do something productive each day. The loss of her husband created a void that seemed impossible to overcome. Immediately upon his death, friends and family surrounded Lisa with companionship and food, and overwhelmed her with attention. Two months later, Lisa feels alone in her new unforeseen life, not knowing where to begin. She thinks she is all right financially now, but worries about the future. What does she need to do to move forward?

The reality

It’s not uncommon for loving family and friends to disappear from sight, leaving a you alone, after your loved one is buried and gone. Your life changed dramatically in the blink of an eye. Once the funeral is over there is a plethora of things to be done to create a new sense of normalcy?

Beware: You might feel like you are going crazy

In the midst of grief and mourning you may feel like you are mentally confused, and have difficulty making decisions. You may even find yourself talking to your deceased husband and having a hard time sleeping. Let me assure you, you aren’t going crazy. Grieving changes the way you think until you have had some time to heal.

Eventually, you will be able to answer these two questions:

  • What do you want your future to look like?
  • Do you have any dreams?
  • How will you get there?

Do not rush into major financial decisions right away

Review your current money situation and make sure your bills are paid. Keep money available for short term expenses. File for the applicable death benefits and update beneficiaries on your policies. Once you begin to heal and return to normal you will be better equipped to make big decisions about your financial future. If you receive life insurance death benefits, it’s best to deposit it in a savings account. When you are ready, seek a financial professional to help you understand your needs and create an investment strategy around your needs.

Beware of expensive decisions regarding your housing choices

Loneliness may push you into making rash decisions to sell your home. Sometimes adult children will encourage you to move in with them to ease the pain. Before making that choice, consider that you will be losing the support network you have in your community such as church, friends, and medical providers. Staying close to your medical providers will be beneficial until the mental and emotional drain of grieving has subsided. Buying and selling a new home is one of the largest financial decisions you will make and a decision that is not reversible.

Beware you are now suddenly single from a financial standpoint

Well intended friends and family will try to step in and “help” you with your finances. Their advice may be well meaning but they may not have a good picture of your entire situation. Understanding where you stand, what cash is coming in and going out and your financial net worth is critical. Going to a single tax bracket will have a big impact on your tax liability. Suddenly you’re faced with making all these decisions. Choose your advisors wisely.

Beware of loved ones asking for money

Family members may approach you for personal “loans” or financial help. Be firm and don’t give into pressure. Make sure you can support yourself first; decide to help others later.

Beware of those who prey on Widows

Con artists will target you to take advantage of you. If it sounds too good to be true, it is highly likely too good to be true.

In Summary

Grief affects everyone differently. There is no way to get around it. Take care of your immediate financial needs and postpone big decisions. What was good for you and your husband might not work for you now. Seek the help of a financial planner. If it sounds like they are selling you something, they maybe the wrong choice. The right choice is a professional who will take into consideration your life style, inform you of exactly where you are and help you get where you want to be.

Grief never ends but it changes.
It is a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, not a lack of faith.
It is the price of love….Author unknown