When Prince Charming arrives and you actually marry him, the last thing you want to think about is that he might drop dead, or, perhaps worse, turn into an ogre. However, millions of women have had one or both experiences. Deana Carter Ingalls is here to help you when your fairy tale turns into a nightmare. In her new book What to Do If You Boot Him or Bury Him, she offers practical, realistic, sensible, and financial advice on what to do now so you are not caught unprepared if your husband dies or if you end up getting a divorce.
Deana, a longtime Charter Life Underwriter (CLU), Charter Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), begins by sharing a few facts in case you believe being divorced or widowed is something you don’t need to worry about. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, America has the tenth highest divorce rate in the world: 53%. That equates to one divorce every six seconds. Furthermore, because many married women are not prepared for divorce or their spouse’s death, they do not have the assets or financial know-how to stay ahead of the game. The National Institute on Retirement Security reports that 80% of women are likely to fall into poverty in their retirement years.
Deana understands what a woman is likely to face, and she tells it straight: “If the husband you supported emotionally, sexually, and perhaps even financially while he pursued a professional degree does not leave you for the yoga instructor who was in diapers when you were attending your high school prom, chances are he will die before you.” In fact, 80% of women outlive their husbands and nearly half of them say they wish they’d taken a more active role in the finances prior to his death.
If you fear you will be lost dealing with the finances when your spouse is no longer in the picture, then What to Do If You Boot Him or Bury Him is the perfect book for educating yourself now. Perhaps best of all, it’s a quick read that tells you all the basics you need to know. At just 100 pages, this book can be read in only a couple of hours, and then you can consult it regularly as needed. It’s small enough to fit into your purse so you can take it to read in the waiting room, on the bus, or whenever you have a minute to spare.
In addition to a Foreword by Patrick Snow, international best-selling author of Creating Your Own Destiny, the book is divided into fifteen short chapters that lay out for you everything you’ll need to know. Every imaginable topic is covered from Social Security and Medicare, to investment options, finding a trusted financial advisor, child support and alimony, determining your financial risk tolerance, health care, long-term care insurance, life insurance, and even how to get back into the dating game again, if you feel the need.
Deanna gets into details about topics you might wonder about or not even have considered such as what you need to know about Social Security, depending on at what age you take it and also how to collect it from your spouse. She shares that if you helped your spouse through college, you might be eligible for some tuition reimbursement. And she helps you go on a treasure hunt to find out about your spouse’s finances before the big event happens, be it divorce or death. This treasure hunt is vital since if your spouse has debt, you’ll be responsible for half of it, so better to know sooner than later.
Although she deals with serious topics, Deana’s tone is often humorous, as the book’s title itself makes clear. Each chapter begins with a humorous or insightful quote. My personal favorite is from Roseanne Barr, who said, “I’m not upset about my divorce. I’m only upset I’m not a widow.” Each chapter is filled with fun graphics to highlight sidebar information and various facts it’s important to know.
Finally, Deana reminds us of the importance of keeping our emotions out of our financial plans. While it’s normal to have anger or resentment after divorce, or fear and grief after death, we cannot let them interfere with our financial decisions. The same is true if we reenter the dating scene; women don’t want to let their emotions put them in situations where the men they date end up fleecing them.
If you are contemplating divorce or just realistic about the fact that your spouse will likely go before you, then What to Do If You Boot Him or Bury Him will be your new BFF that, until now, you may never have realized you needed. So don’t delay; it’s always best to be prepared.