Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Thrifty Thinking: Questions for Adult Children to Ask Mothers

Our moms may have initiated some awkward-but-necessary talks with us when we were growing up. Now it’s our turn.
Fact is, women are more likely to outlive men. Each year in the U.S., there are more than one million new widows—many of them unprepared for a financial future alone. With this in mind, Ronald Blue Trust (www.ronaldbluetrust.com) advisors are urging adult children to ask their mothers five important questions that can help ensure they are best prepared:
1. What do you know about the family finances?
Women who have been involved in their family’s financial planning are more likely to experience financial stability after the loss of a spouse.
2. How would widowhood impact your income?
Two-thirds of women anticipate their income will decline after the spouse’s death, and half of widows lose at least half their income when their husbands die.
3. Where are your important financial documents?
The transition from marriage to widowhood is considered one of the most distressing transitions experienced by adults; increased anxiety may make it hard for widows to find documents and make important decisions.
4. What are your financial values and goals?
It is typical for women to manage cash flow; however it is less typical for women to manage long-term financial decisions. Her - and her husband's - values and goals will play a key role in the long-term decisions she'll now need to make on her own.
5. Do you have a financial adviser, and how trustworthy are they?
Making financial decisions can be difficult for widows, especially immediately after a loss. A trusted financial advisor can ensure that widows are not over-burdened by decisions that can wait, and that immediate decisions that are needed can be navigated with sensitivity and care. Ron Blue's study shows that after dealing with the loss of a husband, when it comes to financial management, women want to be understood, they want help simplifying complex topics, and they want to know they are not alone.
I'm happy to schedule an interview with Russ Crosson, executive vice president, to share insights and tips on how we all can help to ensure that our moms are protected and provided for when they find themselves doing life alone.
Russ can also reveal some of the findings of What Widows Need: Enriching Her Financial Advisory Relationship, a special Ronald Blue Trust report. Among the highlights are the three financial stages of widowhood and the seven financial wishes of widows.

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