Losing a partner is one of the hardest transitions in life. Whether you are in your 20s or 90s, you are dealing with grief and that is often compounded by money worries. They say the only certain things in life are death and taxes. I’d add that both come with a ton of paperwork.
Let me try to cut down on the overwhelm by suggesting two financial tips when you have recently lost a life partner.
First, get some help with the paperwork.
Even if you are a financial planner, accountant, or attorney by profession, your brain on grief is operating minus a cylinder or two. Ask a trusted friend to come over twice a week to go through your mail with you. Have them help you sort out what is urgent (life insurance paperwork, current bills, and benefits elections on a deadline) and what can wait. A fresh set of eyes can also help spot scams or callous sales pitches aimed at the recently bereaved.
If you don’t have a friend to act in this capacity, consider hiring a Daily Money Manager. These professionals help all sorts of people stay on top of their bills and get organized. They work with the elderly, the busy, the mildly disabled, and those who are not great with money. As a newly widowed person, you might fall into any or all of those categories depending on the day. To find a professional near you, check out the American Association of Daily Money Managers (secure.aadmm.com).
Don’t rush into any financial decisions.
Don’t immediately put your house on the market. Don’t through your life insurance proceeds into investments. Don’t invest your deceased partner’s 401(k) into your nephew’s pot business (even though he promised a 100% return in a year). Don’t get married without a really good pre-nup.
Take time to process your grief and really think about where you want to be in your life going forward. Then, make decisions with your money that supports that vision.
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