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October 09, 2021

Widows often poorly served by advisors

Most women regularly outlive their husbands, often by 15 years or more.

And, while recent widows are almost certainly more financially savvy than their mothers, many struggle with money issues following the death of a spouse.

“My dear husband recently passed away," a member of the Boomerater blog laments. "For 40 years he handled our finances and I’m lost without him.”

Let's hope she doesn't meet Gary Sorenson or another unnamed scam artist who has allegedly being defrauding elderly Winnipeggers for years.

Because they weren't included in discussions while their husbands were still alive, many widows soon find themselves in trouble -- although there are those who are equally quick to do something about it. 

According to several studies conducted by insurance company Allianz Life, about 44 per cent of widows admit that losing a spouse has caused them to seek out financial guidance in a new way, and 70 per cent said that they seriously considered firing their advisors shortly after their husbands' deaths. 

That’s because when dealing with older couples, advisors often fail to develop a relationship with the wife because they focus on the husband, who is usually the chief breadwinner, said Tracey Flaherty, head of retirement strategy at Boston-based Natixis Global Associates.

What’s worse, her firm recently completed a study showing that women were four times less likely than men to be contacted by their advisor during the recent market downturn.

Tell us: Are the older women in your family being well served by their advisors?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...