Now it's All Different- A Widow
Karen, Age 68
Karen lost her spouse to cancer two years ago – one year after they retired. Her plan is not going to plan. It’s been a long road for her emotionally and she was never the one to deal with the finances. Her loving husband left her well cared for financially, and she does know she has to take some time and focus on something hard that reminds her so much of her husband and their plans.
When life doesn’t give you what you want, it’s hard to connect to your old plans and make new ones. Karen has been smart in that she didn’t make any big decisions in the last year or so, and partially out of luck, her leaving her investments alone has produced some decent gains. But she knows that is not a plan. She is particularly sensitive to a trust that she and her spouse started for their disabled daughter. That needs to be addressed. She also has some life insurance proceeds that are sitting in a cash account checkbook with the insurance company. So, like it or not, she is getting herself going, and getting some professional help for her new financial plan.
When Karen made her appointment, she seemed a little unsure about making decisions that were this important. She had never had to do it before and she just wasn’t sure of how all this worked. We suggested that she bring her adult Son with her just as someone to run things by and communicate with after the meeting. She was thrilled to do this as that was part of the problem that she saw – no one knew what her plans were now that her husband Tom was gone.
The meeting went as expected. We spent a long time trying to unwind where her various plans were now before we could even have the discussion of what she wants to do from this point forward. Her son did have some valuable insight for her that he felt comfortable sharing. He made it quite clear that He and his brother both want to see his mother enjoy her later years and not worry about them. There was a clear concern of how they would be able to financially support their sister, and Karen made it clear that their father and her had set up that trust.
Planning for income, so that Karen didn’t have to worry where her next check was coming from was the clear priority. Her husband had made decisions about what to sell each time funds needed to be raised. We got to work on that right away. We also suggested we meet with her attorney with her to make sure that she updated her trust and her other estate planning documents to reflect Tom’s passing. After having worked with her awhile now, we note she really doesn’t need the help of her son as she thought she did, in fact – given the opportunity, it turns out she makes better investment decisions than her beloved husband did!