Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Losing a spouse is never easy. I lost mine 12 years ago, after a multi-year battle with cancer. There were many parts of this loss for which I was ready; my mother lost my father at an early age, and she counseled me on preparing financially and practically.
Yet no one can prepare you for the emotional upheaval that results when you go from being part of a couple to suddenly single. There is a period of grief that may be different for each person.
Here is some personal finance advice, learned from experience, that may help you get back in the driver’s seat of your life after losing someone you love.
1. Take your time before making big decisions. Depending on how involved you have been in the business side of your relationship, you may feel completely overwhelmed by a flood of information and questions about the details of your financial life.
I always thought I was organized. However, much of the first year was challenging, filled with confusion and indecision. Everything—even simple things I’d been doing for years—felt new to me.
Like me, you may need to take your time as you move through the early months following the loss. Gather and file everything that looks important—insurance papers, legal documents, death certificate, credit card statements, and so on—and organize the information in a way that works for you. Whether you prefer keeping paper files or putting everything onto a computer, getting everything together can help you feel a bit more stable, especially if you haven’t formerly been involved in family finances.
2. Ask for help. Surround yourself with stellar professionals, including accountants, bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, financial planners, and friends who have expertise in any areas that might be helpful.
Listen to these experts, consider your options, and take your time making decisions. While it can be tempting to tell everything to everyone, you might feel less vulnerable if you request help from only a few trusted people.
Ask questions if you feel unsure. You won’t know everything immediately; there is a learning curve, and it takes time to become the CEO of your own life.
3. Trust yourself. Part of being single again is learning to listen to your own best judgment. Educate yourself about your finances, and understand that the first year after your loss is a springboard or foundation to a more balanced second year. So many times we don’t pay attention to details until we are forced to, and you’ll likely spend the first year building your business and financial acumen.
Be willing to ask questions when there’s something you don’t understand. There is much to learn, and you may surprise yourself with how well informed you can become. Identify your own areas of strength and build on those.
4. Take a step into the world. As you reenter the world as a single person, have some fun. Ask yourself what feels comfortable and in sync with who you are and what you believe.
As you begin once again to join friends or family for dinners out or other events, how does it feel to you to allow others to pay for you? I found that friends often picked up the check and, ultimately, that felt out of balance. Find ways to reciprocate and to create more give and take in your relationships. Everyone is finding their way through this loss, especially those couples used to being with you and your spouse.
Ultimately, time is the great healer and equalizer. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to anyone else. Years two and three will likely be different than year one. Set new goals for yourself. Review your budget, your financial commitments, and your social life, and continue moving forward towards creating a life that feels better and that has you in charge.
Diane Turner is a licensed psychotherapist, certified life coach, and author. In her book, “Heart Wisdom, A Concise Companion for Creating a Life of Possibility” (NightHorses Publishing, March 2013), Turner guides readers to acknowledge the past, focus on the present, and create what they want in their own lives through self-acceptance, personal responsibility, and focused intentions. Turner received her B.A. from Tulane University and her M.S.W. from the University of Illinois, Jane Addams School of Social Work. Her practice is based out of both Chicago and Tucson, and she has frequently lectured on “Living in Possibility,” including during regular guest appearances on Tucson’s “Circles of Change” radio show. For more information, please visit www.dianesturner.com
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.