Throughout my career, I have had many women clients who have experienced widowhood. While loss of a spouse is part of life, losing your significant other can be one of the most painful episodes women will ever experience in their lives.
The majority of women in the world will outlive men. On average, a woman born in the US can expect to outlive her male spouse by 7 or more years. Really think about that for a minute. That many years can be a significant time without the person you have shared a lifetime of memories, laughter, joy, sadness, and overcoming challenges.
A third of women under 60 and half of women over the age of 65 will become widowed. Those are just the statistics of traditional marriage and not civil unions, cohabitations, or other situations where your life partner is no longer there to annoy you by leaving bread out or letting the coffee get cold when you want a cup.
All joking aside, the grief and confusion of rediscovering your sudden independence, there is often a period of learning to manage life’s never-ending demands. Regardless of who in the partnership handled the finances, the total weight of those responsibilities is suddenly thrust upon a human being struggling to understand that they cannot rely on their partner anymore.
Women Grappling with Society During Widowhood
I’m going to tell you something right here and now that may be a little taboo - you are stronger than you know! I have worked with women in all sorts of challenging life situations, and each one of them struggles with finding a genuinely understanding friend. That doesn't mean they do not have help, but the only people who know the deep pain of losing a loved one are those that have been there before. While they can offer consultation and companionship, they also have their own lives to manage. They cannot take over your day-to-day needs when it comes to your financial matters, including Retirement Planning.
However, I also get to witness the beauty of sudden inner power that emerges from these same women when they begin to heal. The incredible strength born from stubbornness to not give in to loneliness or social obscurity is truly a wonder and one of the more rewarding aspects of my work. Being there to offer advice and guidance as these incredible women regain the reigns of their lives and put one foot forward each and every day is an inspiration.
I say all this because many societies and cultural norms around us will often force widowed women to the table in the back of the room. As if suddenly, the value of our gender is lessened because we no longer have a husband or partner. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Women Becoming Something New
Regardless of their personal situation, women of all walks of life have powerful stories to tell and fantastic personalities worth enjoying. When you lose a significant other, you have the opportunity to look back on a life of unique memories that can guide your future. You have experience that can create a pathway to a new you.
You also have the opportunity to seize control of your financial situation. It is a harsh reality that women recently widowed have to make so many crucial decisions when they are most vulnerable. That is why I always make the same plea to my clients, friends, family, and anyone else online or off - make a plan.
Women Preparing for Change
Most adults think of end-of-life planning in terms of their kids or estates and overlook the one constant in their life - their partners. Take the time to sit down and plan out what will happen if your partner, or you, suddenly move on to the next step in your journey.
This may be an awkward conversation, but the relief of knowing what to do in case the worst were to happen is a windfall. That is where we can help. Meyers Financial Services is qualified and experienced to offer you guidance in preparation for managing your own monetary affairs. We are compassionate for your personal situation while steadfast in our dedication to presenting honest options and provisions so you can maintain and grow your financial security in the event of a partner's death.
Don’t wait. The last thing you want is to be making these decisions when so much is on the line. Schedule a phone consultation with our expert team. You will see the inherent value in working with a professional financial advisor now rather than later.
Lillian Meyers CFP®, CDFA®, EA is a Financial Planner for Women in Sonoma, California helping clients live their best life through the use of financial planning, investment management, and other sophisticated financial options.