The Other Great Wealth Transfer: Husband to Wife

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Women outlive men. Women make less than men. We’ve heard this before, but this presents a unique challenge for planners of female clients—especially when it comes to planning for elder care and for being a caregiver.

The Journal recently received an article submission that detailed the horror two female planners felt when they heard a story of a planner who never talked to the wife of his client couple until the husband died.

While oftentimes we focus on the great wealth transfer from boomers to Gen X and millennials, the wealth transfer from boomer husbands to their wives is timelier.

“Unfortunately, older women are often invisible to the investment and technology communities,” Joe Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab and author of The Longevity Economy, recently told USA Today.

Approximately 76 million baby boomers are steamrolling toward retirement, and among them 58 percent of women of retirement age are going to need long-term care someday, versus only 47 percent of men, according to Time magazine.

Coughlin said that women are providing more eldercare than men and because of this they “enter old age with a clearer, more detailed picture of what’s ahead.”

Connecting with female clients long before they reach the years when they need some form of long-term care is wise.

Time magazine reports that about 40 percent of households with children under 18 have female breadwinners. If it’s not happening yet, it will—female breadwinners will start making their way onto your client lists. And they need your help to maintain their family’s financial future.

Oftentimes, female breadwinners are caring for both their children and their parents at the same time. The Center on Caregiving reports that 66 percent of caregivers are female.

“Those women can no longer stay home to care for children or ailing relatives without risking their family’s financial stability,” Haley Sweetland Edwards writes in the Nov. 16, 2017 Time magazine article “Dignity, Death, and America’s Crisis in Elder Care.”

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Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.

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