Saturday, February 06, 2010

Show Me the Money

Dear PWM,

     My kids think I have lost my mind!  I lost their father 5 years ago to an automobile accident.  We are (were) a blue collar family and quite content. 

   Tim's loss was catastrophic for my family but we're coping.  My 3 children were in their 20's and out of the house.  I recently received a substantial settlement from the bus company's insurance carrier.  It was in the millions of dollars.  Yes, I said MILLIONS!  I'm thinking I should give most of it away...I can't profit from my husband's death.

    My children are thinking of having me committed.  I would keep some and give some to my children and open an account for grandchildren.  But I feel the money would cause problems and I think Tim would want to keep things simple...Not sure...But the more the kids fight me on this the more I feel like fighting back. 

   I guess I should just sit back for awhile and digest things.

   Any advice?

  Poor Widow Milly

Dear Poor Widow Milly,

    After you give your kids and grandkids a few sheckles you can send the rest to ME.  As Mae West said, "I've been poor and I've been rich and believe me, honey, rich is better."

    And, as the late great Sophie Tucker said, "From birth to age 18 a girl needs good parents.  From 18 to 35 she needs good looks.  From 35 to 55 she needs a good personality. From 55 on she needs good cash."

  Milly, I'm assuming you're over 55.  

  Here is how I see it.  After 5 years of widowhood you are probably just becoming fairly acclaimated to your life without your husband.  

   Becoming a millionaire is yet another life changer for you. Most would assume money is a welcome change, but they don't understand how much widows struggle to learn to live their new normal. 

  People say, "I would take a cruise, buy a second home, wear really cool clothes if I could afford it."  Now you can afford it.  Now life has challenged you to once again become someone who you're not. 

   You say that you think Tim would want to keep things simple.  I think Milly, it's you, honey, who wants to keep things simple.  We don't have any idea what Tim would want, nor is it relevant.  He's gone.  Your family has evolved by way of the painful process of grieving.  

  Your husband didn't experience this pain so his attitude and outlook will remain as unchanged as his last photo.  Remind yourself of this each time you are swayed to wonder what he might think.

   You are not profiting from your husband's death, certainly not in a sinister way.  He most likely had a life insurance policy to protect you, didn't he?  The only reason to feel guilty is if you were driving the bus. 

   Do the right thing for you and your family.  Keep the money.  Divide it by four, if you wish - you and your three kids.  Take a vacation together.  Regroup.

   If you give the money away what happens later in life if you need financial help from your kids?  Boy, will they be pissed and probably hard to find. 

  Money gives us freedom.  You can choose to live your life as frugally as you want with money...without it you have no choice.