It’s a fact. Women live on average five years longer than men. Preparing financially for the future can improve the quality of those years.
How long can you expect to live? According to the National Center for Health Statistics, it’s 76.3 years for men and 81.2 years if you’re female. Preparing financially for the future can improve the quality of those additional five years for women.
Many women will welcome five extra years, despite the potential heartbreak of not sharing them with their significant other. Others will be terrified of the thought of a future on their own. Why? Most likely because they know they’re not prepared and would find it incredibly overwhelming.
While you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for the possibility of a life on your own. Here are a few things you can do now that can help you navigate the unknown.
Understand Your Financial Health
Many times one person in a relationship is responsible for managing the financial responsibilities of the household. While that’s perfectly acceptable, both should be well aware of their overall financial health. Know where to find statements for savings and checking accounts, credit cards, loans, brokerage or retirement accounts, and any others. It’s especially helpful to have all of your important financial account information organized and in one place.
Visit your Financial Advisor
Did you know that 70% of widows change the financial advisor that was in place before their spouse’s death? If you have a financial advisor, make sure that both of you are building a relationship with him or her. You’ll need to surround yourself with people you trust and those who have your best interest in mind. Get to know your advisor and talk about any concerns with your significant other while you still have one another.
Be intentional about setting aside time to discuss and review your financials, including wills, beneficiaries, investments, trusts, and specific directives. Although it’s not an especially pleasant topic, it’s also important to talk about end of life wishes and arrangements, too.
Keep Important Information in a Safe Place
Account numbers, contact information, usernames and passwords, and security codes and PIN numbers should be kept in a secure place. Know where to find documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, divorce papers, mortgage documents, wills, life insurance policies. One recommendation is to keep copies in your home office and original documents in a safety deposit box. Regardless of what you decide, be sure it’s a comprehensive list and it’s updated as needed.
Household finances are not nearly as intimidating as you might think. If you remain open to your financial world, you’ll gain a greater understanding of it with each passing day. No one wants to think about living a life without their significant other. The best thing you can do right now is be better prepared.