Widows face many financial challenges

By BenefitsPro


By Paula Aven Gladych

Many widows are unprepared to manage their finances after their husbands die, according to a survey by Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc.

The problems go beyond being able to pay bills. The survey of nearly 250 widows under the age of 70, with financial assets between $50,000 and $1 million, found that nearly one-third of these women didn’t have an emergency fund until after their husbands passed away. One-quarter of respondents had difficulty filing income taxes since 61 percent said their husbands always filed their taxes.

More than half had been responsible for paying the household bills when their husbands were alive, but only 30 percent of them had been in charge of making decisions about financial planning and investments, the survey found.

Determining who was entitled to Social Security benefits posed a challenge for many, with 44 percent of respondents saying they had great or some difficulty determining what their children were entitled to receive from Social Security and 37 percent saying the same about what they were entitled to receive from Social Security after their spouses’ deaths.

Fifty percent of widows said they lost at least half of their income when their husbands died, and 26 percent of the widows whose husbands were responsible for financial planning said they were forced to move to a less expensive home afterward.

Many were concerned about having to make financial decisions, with 43 percent of respondents saying they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about it when they became widowed.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com