Initiating conversations with client couples about what to do when one spouse dies is difficult, but it’s in clients’ best interest to have these discussions when both partners are able to participate. It’s especially important for women, who are more likely to be the surviving spouse.
A study released Monday by New York Life found 68% of women reported significant life changes following the death of their spouse.
Men suffered, too, following the death of their wife, but the survey found they reported significant life changes at lower rates than women. Over half of women (55%) said adjusting to a change in income was a significant challenge they faced as a widow and 46% cited budgeting for one income, compared with 34% and 32% for men, respectively.
Interestingly, 21% of women said no longer saving enough for retirement was a big challenge they faced after their spouse died, compared to just 10% of men.
“The news is unsettling: Women are not prepared for the loss of a spouse, and the problems are financial and much more,” Chris Blunt, co-president of the Insurance and Agency Group for New York Life, said in a statement.
New York Life questioned almost 900 widows and widowers who were within 10 years of their loss for the survey. A third of respondents were 65 or younger.