“If you don’t do proper planning you’re going to be left holding a paper bag,” says Diane Felenstein, the Cofounder of 008-Investment Club, which is an investing group for women. If women do not participate in their family’s business and financial situations, they may be at a loss further down the road when their spouses pass away.
According to The New York Times, women over the age of 50 often face financial fears if they have not previously prepared for any changes in their finances. For reasons similar to this, women like Diane Felenstein and Gloria Gottlieb want to prepare women in advance.
Felenstein believes that women should not be left helpless if their husbands, who took charge of financial matters, pass away. Her motto is, “‘If you’re left holding the bag, there ought to be money in it.’”
Together with Gottlieb, the President of Worldwide Insurance, Felenstein “started ‘Women and Wills,’ a free lecture series dedicated to educating women over 50…on issues such as estate planning, succession planning, insurance, long-term health care, charitable giving and of course, wills,” according to The New York Times.
The business duo has held several seminars around New York City to educate women on how they can best prepare for unforeseen future events that can occur in any family, such as the death of a spouse. The New York Times reports that “Each seminar tackles a different issue, led by experts, including wealth advisers and divorce lawyers.”
Many women are often left blindsided in their old age because they never took the time when they were younger to consider going over wills and financial plans with their families. Even though it might seem inconsequential to prepare for future events when people are young, these steps are crucial so that women are not left defenseless.
“You didn’t think you’d die. But I’ve lost friends, they’ve lost husbands, there have been unexpected illnesses and medical bills. We’ve had divorces and remarriages and stepchildren. We saw people lose their money in 2008. These are issues that were never in anybody’s brain,” Felenstein said.
According to The New York Times, there will likely be a point in most families where the women will have to take care of financial matters without their husbands. Reports show that “Women tend to live longer than men and must plan accordingly. In the United States, the average life expectancy is 81.2 years for women and 76.5 for men.”
Because it is more likely than not that a woman will have to become responsible for her family’s financial situation, it is crucial that she is educated on how to handle the details. Diane Steiner, a divorce lawyer in New York, offers some insight to The New York Times on what women need to know.
“Women should insist on knowing what assets and liabilities they have…You have to have money in your own name, as well as joint bank accounts. You have to have retirement assets. You have to pay attention to the financial statements that come into the house…Ask questions. Take it to a lawyer,” Steiner said.
What is most important is that women are not left helpless. Thanks to women like Felenstein and Gottlieb, many more women will have a plan for when these unfortunate situations arise.
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