Today I had a great meeting with two financial advisers who have been working with me since a month after my husband’s death. One is a CPA and was a colleague many years ago in my first position in an accounting firm. The other is a younger financial manager interested not only in financial planning, but also in helping clients make wise financial decisions in their lives.
I have presented a financial plan for myself, with the benefit of their knowledge and guidance, and now am charged with developing a curriculum for widows to help with money management. That is my goal for the next month – a community college non-college curriculum targeting new widows, especially those who have had little responsibility for their finances until the death of their spouse.
The text that I will be using is an excellent resource, Moving Forward on your Own by Kathleen M. Rehl (also a widow). The planning tool will be in Microsoft Excel, so no commercial software package will be required. The task is to make the course relevant for all widows, regardless of their financial background. Even as a CPA, it has been a challenge to corral all the moving pieces into a new model that will provide basic decision-making data, and yet simple enough for periodic updates.
Today, the three of us sat around the table discussing our different methods of basic financial management. We had three distinct styles: One of us used Quicken, downloading all financial transactions from the bank into the software. The second made most transactions through his credit card, doing the management piece monthly when the credit card statement arrived. I pay my bills through online bill pay, sometimes writing paper checks, and do most day-to-day business by cash (giving myself an allowance every week as a budgeting tool). As we discussed these three very different styles, we realized that my challenge will be to make the course relevant to all three of these money management styles, including the widow who has basically had no financial responsibility during her marriage.
Wish me luck!!