B is for Balancing Your Budget During Widowhood

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As a recent widow, you will need to review and perhaps adjust your cash-flow needs. A common misconception among many widows is they believe their expenses will go down when they are by themselves. This may be true in some cases, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to all widows. Actually, in some cases your expenses may actually grow instead.

Take the time to recalculate your cash-flow needs to see exactly where you are financially. Make sure you have enough for basics including mortgage, utility, food, car payments, medical expenses, insurance, etc. Don’t forget to include taxes, children’s education and any financial liabilities such as funeral costs or outstanding medical bills. You will also need to include a monthly estimate for car and housing maintenance and/or repairs.

The next step is to list your sources of income. Include what is applicable in your situation such as a salary if you are still working, social security payment, life insurance distributions, pensions, dividends, retirement plans, investments, rental property, etc.

Once you know where you are currently, you can begin to track whether you are spending more or less than your original list of expenses. Be aware that widows sometimes can find themselves going overboard with their spending habits to compensate for the loss they are feeling.

Once you have a better understanding of where your money is coming from and where it is going on a monthly basis, you will be able to make financial decisions with much more confidence because you will know what impact these decisions will have on your cash flow in the future. Hopefully, your cash flow is positive and you can start building up a comfortable emergency fund so you will be prepared for those unexpected expenses. If this isn’t the case and you find yourself coming up short, you will need to start making cuts on the extras.

What you need to remember is that you don’t have to go it alone. Your financial planner can help you pull together expert advice from a group of professionals such as accountants, attorneys and insurance agents that meet your specific needs.

Answers from AZ

 

About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™). If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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