Confronting Financial Challenges After the Death of a Spouse

Morningstar LogoChristine Benz: Hi, I'm Christine Benz for Morningstar.com. Losing a spouse is a sad life event, of course, and it can also bring financial challenges. Joining me to discuss key priorities for new widows is Nancy Coutu. She is a principal with Money Managers Limited in the Chicago suburbs.

Nancy, thank you so much for being here.

 Nancy Coutu: Thanks for having me, Christine.

Benz: Let's talk about retirement planning for widows. I recently saw a statistic that said that upward of 70% of women tend to leave the financial advisor they had when their spouse was alive upon the death of their spouse. They go looking for different types of financial advice or some other person to help them. Do you have a conjecture about why that might be?

 Coutu: Yes, because I meet a lot of these women. They are angry. A lot of times they are angry, because, well, one is, they were never brought into the conversation with regard to the investment portfolio when they were married. So, typically, the conversation went directly to the husband. The wife was not encouraged to even participate in the meeting. If she did participate, they either ignored her or talked down to her, never explaining, never asking her opinion on things.

And as a result, now the husband is gone, they are dealing with this financial advisor, he or she--probably a he in that case--knows far more about her portfolio than she does and still tends to have that condescending attitude about, you don't need to know all this, just trust me kind of an attitude. Women tend to want to be educated, they want to know what they have, they want to know what their options are. They are much more curious than maybe their male client originally. It's about changing that communication. If they can't, the woman says, I'm moving on. The biggest problem with that though is that women don't know where to go … Click Here to continue reading. 

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