According to the World Health Organization women generally live longer than men – six to eight years on average. They also have lower remarriage rates than men.

‘Women increasingly outnumber men at older ages; among those aged over 65, 55% are women’.

Bereaved women reported lower household income

Consequently, women are more likely than men to lose their spouse. Furthermore, the loss of a partner can inevitably lead to a decline in family income. Therefore, women are also more likely to be affected financially.

According to new research from Royal London, ‘51% of bereaved women reported lower household income, compared to 35% of men. It also found that 45% of bereaved women reported lower disposable income, compared to only 24% of men.’

”Some 44% of women reported having to cut back in discretionary spending such as holidays, compared to 35% of men. Women were also more likely to draw on savings or take out a loan, and more likely to spend less of household bills (including utilities) and less on everyday items.”

The Royal London research revealed ‘that bereaved men were overwhelmingly likely to say that their partner took charge of cooking, cleaning and washing and ironing before they died, whereas bereaved women said that their partner had taken charge of car maintenance, dealing with tradespeople, DIY, driving and dealing with technology. The sudden loss of this expertise leaves the surviving partner scrambling to deal with these practical matters for the first time, while also coping with the emotional loss.”

Plan Now

It’s important that women take an active role in managing household finances. Gain a better financial understanding in order to feel empowered and confident about their financial future. This is especially important when planning for later life.

Grief makes everything so much more difficult

“Losing someone we love is always horrible, but while we rightly focus on the emotional impact it is too easy to lose sight of the financial and practical impacts.’’ – Claire Henry, Chief Executive of Dying Matters

Here’s what you can do now:

1. Consider your finances with your partner so you both understand your current situation. Include the possibility of losing your spouse in your long-term financial plan.

2. Be aware that your income and tax allowance might change after the death of your husband, wife, or civil partner. You can find more details here:

3. See if you’re eligible to claim Bereavement Support Payment.

4. Develop a retirement plan that supports your goals together and individually. Planning and preparing for later life is related to increased happiness in older age.

Read More: ‘How To Plan For Aging’

5. Reflect your estate planning goals. Are you aware that failure to arrange your affairs can result in heavy losses? See, when an Estate is unclaimed it technically means that it is not owned by anyone.

Read More: ‘How To Get Started Organising All The Information About Your Home’

6. Think about your wills, power of attorney & life insurance.

Read More: ‘Make A Power Of Attorney To Avoid Disputes’

7. Organize Your Employment Information & Work-Benefits – If there are benefits involved for your family, you should consider sharing the details.

8. Develop a contingency plan to increase income and reduce expenses. Protect against the unknown and avoid emotional distress.

Losing a spouse is very difficult and apart from the huge emotional difficulties you don’t want to worry about money.

“While we can’t prepare for every eventuality, and as difficult as it may be to talk about dying, having plans in place will help loved ones left behind be more financially secure and manage the everyday chores and tasks.” – Simon Cox of Royal London

Make difficult decisions further down the line easier.

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