My coach and mentor Deborah Price of The Money Coaching Institute in Petaluma, CA says that most widows are out of money within 5 years. Whew!! Frightening. She also says: "A Man is not a retirement plan." As a Money Coach I talk to women every day who avoid the topic of retirement, or the subject of money in general. I understand, I used to be one of those women!!
But life can provide rude awakenings so please read on and I'll share a true story with you: I was at a party and got to talking to a woman about money because she asked me what I do. Glenda (name changed) told me that she’s now 75. When she was 59 her husband died unexpectedly at 66. She called Social Security to find out about her benefits as she assumed she would receive 70% of his monthly amount and was shocked to find out that for each month she was NOT 65 Social Security deducted ½% of his total. She ended up receiving 40%, a very different amount than she had planned on or needed to live the comfortable lifestyle they had together. (Note: I've since talked to a really sharp financial advisor and she's investigating whether it's possible for her to now change and take her own SS benefits over her husbands).
I have a friend who just lost her husband, again unexpectedly. He was 72 and she’s 47. They have no children so she will only receive a $250.00 death benefit and has no right to any of his social security. I know he thought she’d be fine when he went. But, she no longer has his income which amounted to most of their monthly income.
The moral of these stories? Know what Social Security will and will not provide, make sure you have life insurance, (my 47 year old friends husband did not) and have a financial advisor calculate out the amount of money you will need per month to maintain at least 75% of your income. Start an automatic savings program and find a good financial advisor in your area. Ask around and if you're a woman in business try to find a good female adviser. Losing a husband is a huge loss and financial problems complicate everything. Start thinking about and planning not only the IDEAL retirement, but for the worse-case scenarios and you'll be ok financially.