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The loss of a spouse or divorce is a major test of financial independence.

The loss of a significant other is not just emotionally devastating, but also especially hard for women financially. And financial planners aren’t helping.

Allianz Life Insurance says nearly 60 percent of widowed and divorced women admit that losing a spouse was a “wake-up call,” even though many women (who still have their partners) say they feel financially secure. Financial professionals aren’t helping them prepare to be financially independent. Most women — 51 percent — who have seen a financial adviser say their spouse is treated as the financial decision-maker; regardless of whether the adviser was male or female.

Despite the roadblocks women face with financial advisers, Allianz senior director Deb Repya encourages women to become financially independent, even when they haven’t lost a spouse.

“It’s clear that no matter how confident women feel about their current financial situation and ability to manage money;divorce and/or becoming a widow can create turmoil that has lasting effects,” Repya says. “It’s important that women play an active role in every aspect of their family’s financial planning so they are better prepared for whatever challenges the future may bring.”

Women are already playing an active role in the family’s finances. The majority of women in the study, 51 percent, say they are the “chief financial officers” of their household. Most women who suffered divorce or the death of a spouse admit it has given them a financial awakening. 68 percent of ladies say they currently feel financially secure. Among married women, that number is 73 percent.

Money woes still worrisome

Most women say they are cool with their current financial situation. One third name running out of money in retirement their biggest concern. A higher number of divorcees and widows, 40 percent, say lack of retirement savings is their top worry.

Divorced women struggle the most with saving, both short- and long-term. Two-thirds of women are living paycheck to paycheck, which makes it much more difficult to save money, either in savings or a traditional retirement account.

Fortunately, the next generation is planning better. Younger women are looking for financial security early on in their relationships. Millennial women are more likely to search for a saver spouse as opposed to one that is more spendthrift. How potential spouses save for vacation, retirement, and emergencies are all important.

It could be because women face financial setbacks when they take a career break, like deciding to stay home to raise children or help parents. With a savings shortage of more than $1 million — which is in part from earning less than their male counterparts — ladies see less retirement savings when they get older. So having a financially secure partner is an important part of a relationship, especially for younger women.

Despite the financial setbacks with their careers, it turns out women are better money managers than men. They are more likely to be financially prepared for an emergency, and it’s mostly because they worry about money more than their male counterparts.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Family, Retirement

couples, divorce, marriage, save money

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