Losing a partner or spouse can be incredibly difficult. If it happens, it’s easy to forget about everything else for a while. While you’re mourning, the rest of the world seems less significant.
However, you can make a conscious effort to avoid financial mistakes during this period. You will need to carry on, and the money decisions you make will impact both your present and future.
Let’s go over three financial mistakes you should avoid after losing a partner.
1. Avoid Significant Financial Decisions
Sometimes, an individual will feel they should make major decisions after losing a loved one. This is natural. You couldn’t change this life-altering event, so you might try to take control of your life in other ways.
For instance, it’s usually best not to buy or sell a house right after a loved one’s death. If you’re in debt, take some time to think about the best strategy to tackle it rather than plunging right in. Explore the snowball or debt avalanche method before paying off debt right away, as you may need that money in the coming months.
Allow yourself time to mourn before you make any major financial moves. While you’re grieving, you have cognitive impairment. Anything you do directly after your loss might not seem like such a good idea six months or a year down the line.
2. Don’t Lend or Give Money Away
If a loved one dies, you might have a cash windfall coming your way. If your loved one had a life insurance policy, or you have money coming from some other source, you can use it for things like funeral expenses.
It’s unfortunate, but some individuals might try to take advantage of you during your time of grief. They might feel that now is the ideal time to ask you for a loan or a cash gift.
It’s best not to give away money or lend it right after your partner passes. Take some time to think it over. If a few months go by, and you feel like you’re in the right frame of mind to lend or give away some of the money you received, that would probably be more appropriate.
3. Remember to Reassess Your Budget
Once you’ve taken some time to catch your breath and reassess where you are in your life without your partner, you should examine your budget. Your expenses will probably not cost the same as they did before, so you can adjust your saving and spending habits accordingly.
For example, you might move from a family health insurance plan to one that costs less. You might do the same with other insurance policies, such as the one on your vehicle.
Think about how much you’re likely to spend on everyday expenses such as groceries as well. Maybe your partner had gym memberships or spent money on streaming services that you no longer want. It’s hard to think about these things, but at some point, you have to make these changes to ensure your expenses aren’t greater than you can manage.
Take It One Day at a Time
Grief is a natural part of life, but it’s also one of the most challenging things you’re ever likely to experience. When you lose a partner, you might feel that the whole world should stop and mourn with you. The reality is that the financial matters that seem so trivial at this moment will continue impacting your life, and it’s important to respond accordingly.
Take some time to consider what are the most prudent actions and don’t make any major financial decisions until you’re further along in the grieving process.
Try to rely on family and friends for support as you gradually move forward from this painful time in your life.