The death of a spouse is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure.1 Adding financial stresses at such a delicate time can only make matters worse—and your emotional recovery harder. Learn more about what to keep in mind while navigating your financial future as a widow or widower.
Don't Make Major Changes Right Away
During such an emotionally unsettling time, it can be tempting to focus on what you can control: your finances. However, making major life decisions while you're in a state of mental upheaval can lead to outcomes you may later regret. It's a good idea to avoid making any big changes (like selling a house, moving, or cashing in retirement assets) for at least 6 months after your spouse's death. This will provide you with time to grieve and time to see beyond your immediate grief into your future.
Map Your Future
It's a good idea to meet with a financial professional after such a life-changing event to see whether you're on the right path. In some cases, a spouse's death can significantly reduce the amount of income coming into your household each month. In other situations, a life insurance payout may leave you with more money than you know how to handle. In either event, a financial professional can talk through your options and recommend some ways to help stabilize your future income.
Don't Be (Too) Afraid of Risk
When you're dealing with a more financially-uncertain future, it can be tempting to withdraw funds from the stock market to avoid the risk of loss. But mitigating the risk of market volatility can create another risk—losing your assets' purchasing power to inflation. Your financial professional can help you determine an asset allocation you're comfortable with so that your invested funds can continue to grow.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal advisor.
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Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.