October 2020: Starting Thoughts

Journal of Financial Planning: October 2020



Almost 20 years ago, I interviewed a financial planner for an article I was working on about a novel concept at that time: addressing the unique financial planning situations for women—particularly widows. Something that planner told me has stuck with me all these years. She said, “The meek will not inherit the Earth; women will.”

Worldwide, women tend to outlive men—an average of six to eight years, according to the World Health Organization. When you combine life expectancy with the traditional money roles that have played out in many heterosexual married couples, where the husband tends to have more financial knowledge and make more financial decisions than the wife, you get a situation where widows often lack financial self-empowerment, and that can put those widows in financial jeopardy.

To better understand this, a research team led by Laura Mattia Ph.D., CFP®, surveyed widows and applied a conceptual framework for economic empowerment to explore the associations between financial literacy, financial attitudes, financial well-being, and self-empowerment among widows.

Their paper, “Self-Empowerment Among Widows: A Financial Planning Perspective,” appears in this issue. Their analysis found that older widowed women were likely to feel more confident in their overall financial situation if they delegated money management tasks to their new spouse or partner. With this in mind, one of their suggestions is for planners to help widowed clients participate in day-to-day personal finance activities as well as pre-planning activities that can cultivate their financial self-empowerment.

It is with this issue that I pass the torch to Ana Trujillo Limón, who has been promoted from senior editor to editor-in-chief. As I move on to the next chapter in my career, I’m excited to see where Ana and the esteemed Journal team of staff and dedicated volunteers will take the Journal. I’m leaving FPA and the Journal, but I’m staying in the financial planning profession. I look forward to turning the tables and joining you as an active FPA member and avid Journal reader.

Carly Schulaka

Career stage
Learning / Aspiring