Broker Check

Women in Transition

Financially, in a transition such as death or divorce, women make much more emotionally based decisions than men. While money is an emotional subject for all human beings, it can be especially challenging for women. The receipt of a life insurance benefit or a spouse’s retirement plan after a death can arrive fraught with many triggers. The IRA or 401K account represents one of the last “live” connections to the spouse or partner, as their name shows up on statements. The life insurance payment can represent the final contribution to the family budget, and if there are young children, to their well-being. Deciding what to do with this money, and when, can be very difficult. Suddenly, money that was planned to be used in a happy retirement now becomes very emotionally “heavy”, and decisions can feel more complex and overwhelming than usual.

While seeking out the advice of a competent advisor is tantamount, it is critical to understand that major decisions around any windfall, whether through death, divorce or a legal settlement, need not be made for a minimum of 6 months. While the IRS does have a time frame for decisions related to retirement accounts, they are rarely less than a year and may be longer depending on when the person passed. On any account, if one is feeling rushed or pressured to make a decision, short of a verifiable IRS deadline, it is important not to make decisions until you are comfortable and in a clear frame of mind. Ideally, bring a trusted friend or family member to any meeting to discuss changes, get a “feel” for the advisor and help with decisions.