Men, we know you go through transitions, too, but this one is for the ladies.
Ladies, when was the last time you thought about yourself?
Maybe this sounds like you, in part or in whole. You are a caregiver. You are focused on fulfilling others’ needs, creating nests of stability and familiarity. You put off many of your own needs, including those tied to your financial wellbeing. You don’t have a lot of time to devote to thinking about finances.
That last one is the one I would like to focus on.
Chances are, if you are not solely responsible for your finances at this moment, you will be in the future. We live, on average, five years longer than men. The average age of widowhood, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is 59. And only one in every two marriage proves to be successful.
When we are suddenly in a life transition, we are thrust into unfamiliar territory, facing unique challenges and many times unique financial needs. The stress of the sudden changes may lead us to consider inappropriate decisions or letting decisions go. If you are a woman in transition, here are some thoughts on working through financial decisions.
Put off any major decisions. When a huge life change looms, many times we think a major shift is what’s needed. You may feel under pressure to sell your home or change jobs; however, waiting at least six months to a year before making major decisions allows you to work through the grieving processes that sudden transitions can bring.
Be aware of chronic stress. A period of transition contains a cycle of emotions including an underlying tension that can make it difficult to follow through on decisions and move forward. Be aware of your needs and watch for signs of anxiety or depression that may lead you to postpone financial decision that do need attention.
Plan out your monthly expenses. Don’t let your new role as family finance director intimidate you. One of the best ways to get a handle on the money situation is to know where your income is going monthly and how the everyday expenses are paid. A monthly plan can help provide a rhythm and a sense of stability that a time of transition has disrupted.
Keep an eye on long-term planning. Periods of transition always involve a hurricane of paperwork. Dealing with the short-term estate papers, insurance policies or house deeds overwhelm us and we forget to give attention to any long-term goals that have been planned previously. Regularly check up on the long-term financial planning that is already in place and consider how it may change as you are moving through this transition. Putting together a timetable for tasks and decisions can help so you can still move forward financially.
Work with a financial advisor. If you are finding that making financial decisions on your own for the first time is just too daunting, consider meeting with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you develop solutions for both your short and long-term goals.
If you are concerned you will not understand or will forget some of the information discussed, ask a friend or family member whom you trust to come to the initial meeting with you, take notes and suggest questions you may have not considered. Work with an advisor who will listen to you and who make you feel comfortable sharing all the details that can affect your financial security and your family’s future.
Linden Oak Wealth Partners offers fee-only financial advising customized for women, in particular, women in transition. Our goal is to create an environment where financial planning is efficient, simplified and easy to understand. We want clients to feel empowered and engaged every step of the way. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation today.
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