CHAPTER SIX – MEN – AND MONEY
The thing that surprised me the most was the pressure from well-meaning friends, clients and family – to replace my husband- to find a man – almost immediately.
I admit I thought about it. But the thought of “dating” was alien to me. Never mind finding one but what do you say to a date? I hadn’t had a date in years.
And what do you do with your wedding ring? When are you supposed to take it off? My ideal situation would be to find a person exactly like my husband who would be deposited on my doorstep by helicopter. To go back to my old, comfortable life.
Back to where my husband was well.
You might get the opposite pressure from your kids or your heirs. They tend to build shrines to your saintly husband. They might be horrified if you mentioned the idea of another man in your life even if there is no one in sight.
I’ve talked to a lot of widows about this and I hate to tell you this but it is about the MONEY. Their inheritance.
They have seen stories on TV about scams. The nice and smart women who have been fleeced by con men.
You have to assure your heirs that you are not stupid. That you are reworking all your financial matters to coincide with your new status as a single woman. And you will keep them informed of what you are doing.
And as the cop said, you have to get it together, lady.
It’s an unpleasant task because the process brings us in contact with our own mortality. We all have this little secret. Everyone is going to die except us so there is no rush.
I started with conversations with my children. I wanted to know, of the few valuable things in my home, which they would want to inherit. You need to have that information when you make a new will.
And then, find out exactly what assets you have. Your husband may have handled all these things. I know mine did. If he had an accountant who did his taxes, that would be your first step. Otherwise, you will have to dig through his records.
The next is to find an attorney who specializes in wills and trusts. Not your friend who does real estate closings. A will is not enough. You will need a Revocable Living Trust.
A lot of people are afraid of a trust because they think they will lose control of their money and their house. No. You are the executor and you can do whatever you want. Sell the house. Buy a condo. Trade your stocks.
Next would be to find someone to invest the money you have.
You will be surprised at who will approach you on doing this for you. But do not give your money to your brother-in-law’s cousin’s son who sells annuities and promises you an income for life. At least, not until you do some big research. You want to deal with a large firm and with a broker who knows what he is doing.
Don’t start being a day trader yourself to save commissions. Probably, you don’t know what you are doing.
Look for a broker who is a Certified Financial Planner. I was lucky. My son is a CFP with Merrill Lynch. I know from that how hard he had to work to get that designation. It is the Mercedes of broker levels and involves many classes, tests and experience. They are trained to look at your whole picture and will work with your accountant and attorney. Talk to a few and decide who you like.
Tell your heirs what you have done. Even offer to show them all your documents. They will stop worrying about you and someone stealing you blind.
So much for someone who went through this process. It is not pleasant but when it is done it is done.
After you have signed all the papers, you will feel a little better.
This is the first step of many – where you will come to terms that you are alone.
Not holding on to the past
This is an excerpt – a sample chapter.
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