Something Every Married Woman Should Plan For

I know this is a subject we don’t want to think about but the reality is most wives will out live their husbands.  We plot and we plan all kinds of cash flow scenarios for couples to live happily ever after until they fall gently asleep in each others arms at age 100.  That would be nice but life isn’t quite so predictable.    Therefore as a wife, you should plan to out live your husband.  This includes being ready to handle all of the arrangements and paperwork that must be handled upon death as well as long term planning for your financial needs.  Below is a list of issues that should be addressed before you become a widow.

  • Select an Estate Planning Attorney who you trust and are comfortable with to draft a will and help you through the process of settling your husband’s estate.
  • Draft a will and a Health Power of Attorney.
  • Discuss end of life plans with each other.
  • Review the beneficiary designations on IRAs, 401ks, and life insurance policies.
  • Organize your financial papers so you know what you have, where you have it and who your contact is.
  • Take an active role in managing your finances.
  • If you are uncomfortable with finances, take some classes and read some books to educate yourself.
  • If you choose to work with a Financial Planner take the time to select someone who you trust and feel comfortable with – especially when you are alone.  The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors provides some good guidelines on selecting a financial planner at www.Napfa.org.
  • Run some retirement planning scenarios as a widow – will you have enough money to cover your expenses if you husband predeceases you?  Are you still entitled to his pension or will you receive a decreased payout?
  • Does your cash flow fall short of what you need? Consider buying some term life insurance?  Consider adjusting your work situation to save more money?
  • What happens if one of you needs long term care?  Can you cover the expense or should you consider long term care insurance?
  • What happens to your health insurance when your husband dies?  How much time do you have to secure health insurance in your name?  Are you entitled to Cobra?
  • Establish credit in your name, get your own credit card.
  • Do you have adequate emergency reserves to cover funeral expenses and several months of expenses?

The loss of a spouse is extremely difficult.  Most widows feel like they are in fog for the first year.  The last thing on your mind will be money but some issues will need to be addressed.   Make it easier on yourself and plan ahead.

About the author

Jane M. Young, CFP®, EA, MBA, CDFA

Jane M. Young is a Certified Financial Planner and co-owner of Pinnacle Financial Concepts, Inc. and Divorce Solutions, Inc. She has been a financial planner since 1996. She is also enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Prior to becoming a financial planner Jane held several management positions at Digital Equipment Corporation and Quantum Corporation, where she worked for 14 years. Jane holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Colorado. She has also completed the two year Certified Financial Planner Professional Education Program with the College for Financial Planning.

Jane is very active in the community. She is the immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs and a past president of Leadership Pikes Peak. She is a graduate of the Leadership Pikes Peak class of 2004. She is a past president of the Financial Planning Association of Southern Colorado and a past president of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Jane is also a member of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, College of Business, Alumni Leadership Team. Jane is a graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies class of 2009 and a graduate the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute class of 2011. She is also a member of the Estate Planning Council and Artemis. Jane was selected as a 2010 Woman of Influence by the Colorado Spring Business Journal.

As a fee-only financial planner Jane is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Financial Planning Association, the National Association of Tax Professionals and the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors. She has been quoted in several local and national publications including The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Consumer Reports, Investment News, MSN Money, Kiplinger Magazine, Financial Advisor Magazine, Bankrate.com and the Colorado Springs Business Journal. She also works as a volunteer instructor to new advisors with the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors and has worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Jane is from St. Louis, but grew up in Colorado Springs. She enjoys skiing, golfing, traveling, hiking, painting and learning to speak French.

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