When someone loses their spouse and finds themselves unexpectedly alone…
not only is it heartbreaking, it can be financially devastating. As advisors, these kind of meetings are some of the most difficult to have with our clients and we are more than aware that money is the last thing you want to think about during one of the saddest periods of your life. Regardless if you have experienced a loss recently or if you want to prepare for the future, here are some tips to help you along the financial path.
Have A Family Meeting. Sometimes you just have to have “the talk”. As uncomfortable and hard as it may be, having “the talk” is so vitally important. (If you are a parent, remember how uncomfortable it was having “the talk” with your children? You made it through that…you will make it through this “talk” as well.) Gather all of your financial statements and make sure everyone knows where this important paperwork will be stored. This is also a great way to double-check that all arrangements that need to be made have been done. This is also the time to write down the names and contact information of your financial advisor, estate lawyer, CPA, insurance specialist, etc. Even better ? The next time you have an appointment with your financial professionals, bring along anyone in your family to introduce them! At Barber Financial Group, we have all of these professionals under one roof so this process is an easy one for our clients.
Address the Most Critical Financial Issues First. Unfortunately, those monthly bills don’t have a heart and will demand continued payments. Simultaneously, your incoming monthly earnings may immediately change once you lose a spouse so it’s imperative to address any changes to your income stream to make sure your living expenses are covered. If your expenses are higher than your income, you will need to make a new budget and possibly adjust your standard of living. Remember, while it may seem logical that your expenses as a single person will be half of what they were as a couple, that is not always the case. For example, It’s possible that while your income will fall by 30%, your expenses may only fall by 15%.
Revisit Your Life Insurance. Life insurance is one of those necessary things in life that you may not enjoy paying for throughout your adult life (let’s face it, spending money on a vacation or new sports car would be a lot more fun), but once you need it, you will be grateful you paid for this benefit. Life insurance is shield of protection for the survivors. First, you’ll need to meet with your life insurance specialist and financial advisor to find out what the value of your policy(cies) are and how to best use those benefits to help cover your needs.
Update Your Estate Documents. Very few things in life stay the same. As much as we hate it sometimes, things change. It’s crucial to make sure that your documents are updated to match your current wants and wishes. For example, updating and verifying your beneficiaries on financial accounts, insurance policies, bank accounts, car titles, and even your home is a proactive step in keeping your assets out of probate. It’s something that actually should be reviewed annually at a minimum.
At the end of the day, losing a spouse is a tragic, difficult experience regardless if there had been any preparations made ahead of time or not. We’ve all heard stories regarding widows or widowers who knew very little, if any, about their finances or amount of debt they have after losing a spouse. The advisors of Barber Financial Group know that while discussing money issues is difficult when a spouse is grieving, it’s crucial to help secure your financial wellness. If you are recently widowed or want to prepare for the possibility of losing your husband or wife, we are prepared to help you (and your children) explore what planning needs you must address. One of the advantages of working with Barber Financial Group is that we have CPAs, insurance specialists and estate attorneys that all work together with our financial advisors to make sure your estate is set up in the most tax-efficient, legal way to protect your family after a death.
If you have concerns about finding yourself in an unexpected situation or just want to talk to one of our advisors for some clarity on your retirement plan, give us a call at 913.393.1000 or fill out the form below!
Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.
The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.