After an extended period to deal with the raw and emotional pain of losing a spouse, a widow or widower should be able to make large financial decisions within a couple of years.
Waiting that long allows a widow or widower to get past the shock and look at their financial picture objectively. The time it takes is different for everyone and only the person who lost a spouse can decide when is the right time to move forward with selling a home or any other major financial decision.
“Widows and widowers need to talk to knowledgeable people,” said Joy Garland, a certified income specialist, certified fund specialist, and managing partner of Roan Capital Partners. “Whether it’s a realtor in their area or a financial professional, they need to find someone they trust.”
Roan Capital Partners recommends taking at least a year before making any major decisions.
When deciding to sell your home, there are a couple of items widows and widowers should do before going down that road. First, make sure selling the home you shared with a spouse is the right decision. Take some time and think through the decision.
Selling a home you built a life with your spouse in could feel like a widow or widower is losing everything tied to the spouse. Garland recommends people seek out a counselor or support group to talk about the emotions that come with deciding to sell a home.
Once the decision has been made, widows or widowers need to determine what kind of home they need and if they may need any assistance. Some people may want a one level home with no yard while others may want to move to an assisted living community. Everyone is unique and has their own desires.
One thing to consider when selling a home and receiving a large chunk of cash (assuming not much is owed on the home) is what to do with it. Taxes will need to be paid on the money and there are rules for reinvesting it. This makes having a relationship with a financial planner extremely important before making these decisions. They can help navigate the waters of financial decisions.
Another decision would be transportation.
“Do they need to get a new car or is the one they have sufficient?” Garland said. “If it’s within six or seven years old, they probably need to get a new one. The reason for that is to have something dependable or something to cause less worry about getting around.”
Roan Capital Partners recommends widows or widowers should get something they enjoy instead of something their spouse would have bought. If you always wanted a truck, get a truck.
Try and think about the associated costs with the truck before you get it. What are the maintenance costs going to be? Is there a wheel tax in your county and how much is it?
Always talk to close friends, family, and professionals before making a large financial decision. This way you are confident it is the right one for you.
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