“I found myself at a loss. My mind went blank when Sam passed away suddenly. I did not know what to think, let alone what to do.” ~ The words from a widowed client
I recall reading the news of Dave Sandberg’s death in 2015 and felt horrible and saddened. You might not know Dave, but you likely have heard of Sheryl Sandberg. Sheryl was the former Chief Operation Officer at Meta Platforms (Facebook). She is the author of the book Lean In, a book to empower women to take courageous steps in order to grow and thrive in their career. When Dave died in a hospital after collapsing on a treadmill, Sheryl too was at a loss.
Grieving is a surprisingly long and unique process for each of us. In her interview with Laura Wellington “The Exclusive Club Sheryl Sandberg Never Intended to Join”, she spells out wisdom about widowhood:
1. Take your time to grieve. Grief has its own timetable, even if you try to rush it.
2. Take baby steps into your future and realize that you will make mistakes along the way. Mistakes are okay. You have never done this before.
3. It is healthy to cry when you feel like it.
4. Honor your spouse’s life by living yours well and teach your children to do the same.
Death does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone without notice. As much as we don't like it, planning for death is an important part of a bulletproof financial plan. Having a plan allows you to focus on taking care of yourself, your children, and taking time to breathe and grieve without worrying about income or money. Planning ahead can lighten your burden during a difficult time such as this. We encourage you to touch base with your spouse about your plans and wishes, and feel free to reach out to our team for resources.
Remember, financial planning is about more than helping you achieve your financial goals. It helps create peace of mind when life happens, and buys you and your loved ones time to take a break and regroup after a loss. If you have experienced a recent loss, the checklist below provides actionable steps and a timeline for managing the estate of your loved one who has passed.