Identifying the four stages of transition for widows 

While the journey through grief and widowhood is unique to each widow, it will likely progress through four stages of transition. The following are the four stages and what you should focus on to help her through her journey: 

1. Preparation is where she has time to get her financial life in order and brace for what she knows is about to happen. 

  • Help her determine what needs immediate attention.
  • Determine what can be done to minimize the impact. 

2. Grief is where she gathers her composure, becomes grounded and ensures nothing falls through the cracks as the life she knew has ended. 

  • This is a highly vulnerable time, so caution her not to make any big, irrevocable decisions. 
  • Help her focus on immediate needs, pay bills, monitor cash flow and review her investment portfolio. 

3. Growth is where she begins designing her new life and starts exploring the possibilities. 

  • This is the time to do comprehensive financial planning: retirement planning, investment planning, tax planning and estate planning. 
  • You can help her make those large purchases and housing decisions that she put off during the grief stage. 
  • At this point, you can introduce the idea of preparing for future relationships with pre-commitment documents and reviewing important money discussions that should be addressed with future partners. 

4. Transformation is where she experiences new beginnings. This is the new normal, where she is now loving life and moving forward. 

  • Help her find her independence through education, motivation and collaboration.
  • Discuss more advanced estate planning, charitable planning and special family issues. 

Hear more in the new episode of MDRT Presents: 

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