Money and the Newly Independent Woman: Navigating the Financial Challenges of Divorce and Widowhood

As if the profound emotional strain and upheaval from divorce or the death of a spouse weren’t enough, many newly independent women also find themselves in the unfamiliar and often uncomfortable position of having to deal with the financial challenges that accompany these situations.

“They may struggle to figure out what the ‘new normal’ is for them financially, especially if they haven’t been that involved in their finances before,” observes Terri R. Munro, a certified financial planner at BT Wealth Management in Atlanta, Ga.

Recently divorced or widowed women walk a fine line when it comes to their new found financial responsibilities. On one hand, in an attempt to keep emotions from clouding sound decision-making, it often makes sense to table certain decisions until the person feels more settled. On the other hand, certain issues may require prompt attention. What’s more, immersing oneself in financial issues following divorce or the loss of a spouse can be a welcome diversion.

“Many women I work with are excited to learn more about this stuff,” notes Munro. “The point is for them to feel like an educated consumer, so they feel confident and empowered in their decision-making.”

Here are some of the financial issues a newly widowed or divorced woman is likely to encounter in coming to grips with “the new normal,” with suggestions from the personal finance experts at the Financial Planning Association to help address them.

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