If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that change is a constant in our lives. And since women are relied on to be the caregivers of the family, knowing how to best prepare for expected and unexpected changes is half the battle.
Chances are, many of the stressors we’ll have to face will involve tough financial decisions. Sorting out our finances in times of upheaval is no easy task. Financial expert Ande Frazier shares her insights on how to best tackle these overwhelming challenges.
If the divorce is unexpected, it’s perhaps a blow to our self-esteem. Our minds may be wrestling with thoughts like, “What does this mean to me, my life, my lifestyle, my friends, my children?”
Prepare: Create a timeline of what needs to happen (i.e. review assets, file papers, etc.) and by when. The timeline helps to focus on things that are immediate, without getting distracted by the things that can be done later on.
Death of a loved one
The grieving process can take a year, two years, 10 years or more—the timeline of that differs for everybody. People want to be there for somebody who is dealing with loss, yet they may not know how.
Prepare: It’s OK to ask for what you need. Reevaluate what’s important – your values, your goals. Have they changed? Sort out time-sensitive commitments. Put off things that can wait so you have time to process what’s happened before making a decision you’re not ready to make.
If a loved one takes sick unexpectedly, this is where those ‘blue dollars’ come into play. Green dollars signify the money we’re spending but blue dollars signify time. It’s very stressful when a woman has to take time out of work or time away from her family to care for someone who’s ill. It may mean that she’s earning less at her job, putting her own health at risk, or picking up some of the financial burden as well.
Prepare: The sooner she has an open and transparent conversation with the people this might affect—her parents, her partner, her siblings, etc.—the sooner she can begin to plan. (Getting long-term care insurance earlier in life can help prepare for these critical times).
A lot of people rely on their benefits through work to take care of this, but those benefits are very limited in many cases. The amount that’s paid (which is often taxable) and when they receive, it may not be what they expected.
Prepare: Make sure to address the protection area of your finances: the disability insurance; life insurance; liability coverage. Don’t wait to fill out health care proxies and living wills. A lot of times we focus on emergency funds and retirement savings yet we don’t focus on the one area we can’t fix ‘after the fact.’
Chances are, we have (or know someone who has) traded a secure and stable job in favor of a more rewarding, yet not-so-financially sound job. Getting very clear about the money you have coming in and going out is key to making necessary adjustments.
I know a woman who did this successfully because she planned for it about six months before she pulled the trigger. She started to get rid of the things she didn’t need (for example, she didn’t need five music streaming services).
Prepare: Streamline what you don’t need to spend money on and start to live as if you were already making less. This way, you can adjust your expenses while you still have wiggle room.
Taking that next step with a partner can bring up a wide range of emotions. While we may feel more financially secure with a second income, it’s important to know the role that money plays in their life as well (most of us were influenced by something that happened in our childhood). Growing up, you may have witnessed that one parent of yours was a spender and the other a saver—which may have led to some financial struggles at home.
Prepare: Sit down with your fiancé and have a straightforward conversation about money so the both of you know where the other is coming from and can plan better for your future together.
- Describe your family—
I’m currently married to my high school sweetheart, Sean, and have two children – a boy and a girl, Max (14) and Ella (17).
- What’s the best advice you ever received?
People are not responding to me. Many times they’re responding from where they are and what’s going on in their lives. It allowed me not to take things so personally.
- What’s your favorite book/movie and why?
“Shawshank Redemption.” Morgan Freeman’s character says, “You have to make a decision. You can either get busy living or get busy dying.” That line has just stuck with me. My favorite book for the last couple years is the “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. I felt like she was talking directly to me.
- Who saw something in you when you were growing up, that you hadn’t seen in yourself?
My uncle, Charles, who has passed. In middle school, I was bullied by a lot of girls. I hated school and had no self-esteem. He would make me feel good and would give me self-confidence. I was able to see through his eyes who I really was.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a huge football fan, college and pro. We root for the Georgia Bulldogs and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ve [also] been doing yoga for about 18 years. I love it.