Happy New Year!!  As we are all completing our personal and business goal setting, I would like to ask you to add one item “enhance your financial knowledge” to the list.  I met a woman this week that relies on her husband for all financial decisions and it just reminded me of all the women I have met that are not involved in the household finances.  That is fine but I would ask that you at least know the basics of your finances, like: how much you owe, how much you own, where your monies are invested and your general net worth.

I recently read this article and it really spoke to me about Women and Men in general.  In each typical household, there is one partner that takes care of the money and another that takes care of other stuff.  In typical marriages, the man takes care of the money and quite often the woman doesn’t have any idea about the family finances.  I am also a widow but in our home I took care of all the finances, so when my husband died, I knew what we owed, what we owned and where everything was invested.  I can’t imagine how stressful it would have been had I not known where and how much monies I had to support myself and my children.

The article is about a widow, her various stages of grief and becoming an independent woman!  Very inspiring as you too can become totally independent without having to experience such an incredible loss in your life.  She goes through 3 stages of grief: grief, growth, transformation.  During stage 2, the stage of growth, it includes taking care of your finances beyond the basics like: updating your will and beneficiary forms, evaluating investments, making necessary changes with insurance coverage, deciding whether to stay in their house or relocate and, finally, considering pre- or post-retirement choices. If a widow has minor children, she thinks about money implications of being a single-parent family.  A widow’s life begins to feel more in balance during the growth stage.

The final stage of recovery from a spouse’s death, transformation, is a time of fulfillment.  Often, a new purpose and passion evolves as she learns how to embrace life without her husband.  She’s now ready for more advanced wealth-management issues, including legacy planning and future family bequests, possibly through a living trust.

Having been in this situation, I can tell you from first hand experience that you need to be informed of your financial situation.  It is incredibly empowering to be knowledgeable, whether you are male or female, know how much cash you have available, where your accounts are located, in the worst case scenario, will you have enough to take care of your family.  Best to be informed and prepared!

Colleen Saunders is a 20 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.

To contact Colleen, please fill out the form on  www.mortgagesbycolleen.ca  or call 416-459-2406