Skip to main content

Losing a spouse is never easy and a difficult topic for many to even imagine. But when you become a widow or widower, moving beyond the grief to address important financial items in your life is essential. Whether you recently lost your loved one or you need to prepare for the road ahead, here are some considerations that will help you keep your financial house in order.

1. Identify changes in your financial life
Your financial life will immediately change once you lose a spouse. From lost income to changes in Social Security benefits and beyond, you will now need to address an array of financial items as a widow. Details such as creating a new budget and revisiting your living situation are important to examine as you identify your new economic profile and any changes to your standard of living. With the difficult decision-making ahead, consulting with a financial professional can help you make the right choices for your needs.

2. Close any income gaps
When your spouse passes away, you may lose income you rely on for your financial standing. Unfortunately, as a result, becoming a widow can have dire financial consequences for the living spouse when a wage earner dies.1 Women often have greater economic losses due to their own lower earnings throughout their lifetimes, further straining their finances. In fact, a woman born in 1948 earned on average roughly 46% less than men when working between ages 15 and 64 years old.2 By identifying income gaps with your spouse’s loss, you will be able to gain a better picture of how you need to fill those gaps moving forward.

3. Address your life insurance
Throughout your adult life, you’ve probably had the protection of life insurance. Once you are a widow, you will benefit from years of protecting you and your family. Beneficiary payouts usually become an important source of income for survivors. First, you’ll need to identify the value of your life insurance policy and what options you have. From there, you will want to create a strategy for how best to apply your benefits. For some, that may mean paying down a mortgage to lessen its debt obligations while others may need the income to support their living expenses. Your unique financial life and specific life insurance policy will drive what options are available and make the most sense for your needs. You will also want to address any changes you must make to your coverage now that your needs have evolved.3

4. Review your estate
With a spouse’s passing, you will also have to address your estate and prepare to manage it in the most tax-efficient manner. In addition to addressing possible income taxes from the year your spouse died, you may also need to manage filing estate or inheritance tax returns for federal and state obligations. You may also need to explore if disclaiming property your spouse owned could improve your financial liabilities. Consulting with the appropriate attorney or accountant can help you identify your unique estate planning needs.4

Overall, losing a spouse is a difficult experience, no matter what stage of life you’re in. While addressing financial items is never easy during a time of grief, doing so is critical for securing your financial wellness. If you recently became a widow or want to prepare for the possibility of losing your spouse, we are happy to help you explore your options. Call our office today at 303-741-9772 to discuss with a professional.

2 Economic Security of American Households-The Economic Security of Older Women.pdf

Important Disclosure Information

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Dechtman Wealth Management, LLC [“DWM”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from DWM. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. DWM is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the DWM’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at

Please Note: DWM does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to DWM’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Please Remember: If you are a DWM client, please contact DWM, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services.  Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently.

Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

Join our newsletter

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.