HILLARY HOWARD: It is 5:12 and it goes without saying losing a spouse is a devastating experience. All too often the surviving spouse must deal with an avalanche of financial decisions to keep his or her life going while in the grips of grief.
HILLARY HOWARD: Joining us to talk about how to prepare for the worst, Nina Mitchell; Senior Advisor, Wealth Advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda, cofounder of Her Wealth®. Thanks so much for being with us Nina.
NINA MITCHELL: Nice to be here.
HILLARY HOWARD: Death is a topic a lot of us avoid talking about, but it’s really important to plan for the future and future passing because it’s going to happen.
NINA: Truly no one really wants to talk about death and recently opportunity here Sheryl Sandberg speak about her new book Option B and the sudden death of her husband at age 47 and it reminded me of how quickly life can change for any of us and how many women are just not as prepared as they should be. And one plan that immediately came to mind for me was, when I was introduced to a very young widow the day after she lost her husband from 9/11. And she was a stay-at-home mom, she never handled any of her your finances and so this was really devastating for her. Honestly handling her husband’s estate was just the beginning of many financial decisions that she had to make and so if women just want to wait until something bad happens to their spouse to get engaged with their own finances, then the reaction is going to be fear and it just doesn't have to be that way.
HILLARY HOWARD: So, how do you even open up that conversation to know what to do should you lose a loved one?
NINA MITCHELL: Well, many people just don’t know where their financial information is or who to call in the event of an emergency, so we created a comprehensive in case of emergency checklist that really is your roadmap to guide your loved ones and this checklist should be as detailed as possible and includes all the information about who to call; your state attorney, your advisor, your CPA, where your important documents are, like your state docs, your life insurance policy, your deeds, your title and what accounts you actually have; whether its banking, its investments, its retirement as well as all your bill paying details with passwords. And you know when you’re filling out this checklist, it's also prompt to make sure that your state docs are up-to-date; it's kind of like a call to action.
HILLARY HOWARD: You know one of the other things people don’t consider is their social media stuff Nina, that's something there should be a plan for as well?
NINA MITCHELL: We all live in a world where we have a lot of online accounts for both bill paying and social media like you were saying, so you need to know which of these accounts even exist, that have the information like the password, the username to close them when someone dies. And don’t forget about the online accounts that are connected to your credit card, those also have to be closed when someone dies. So having this emergency checklist is really just your ability to have a sense of control in advance of option B.
HILLARY HOWARD: Thank you Nina.
NINA MITCHELL: Thanks.
HILLARY HOWARD: Nina Mitchell; senior wealth advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda. See the financial checklist and read more at WTOP.com search Her Wealth.
Shawn: Now you hear all kinds of deals about leasing cars, how can you negotiate a better deal if you want to lease?
Nina: Okay, well many people don't realize that they can actually negotiate the sticker price on a leased car in the same way that you would do that if you're buying a car. And since when you lease -- when you're, you know, your lease payments basically cover the depreciation, the difference between the sales price and the residual value. So it's definitely in your best interest to try to reduce that sales price as much as possible because then you'll pay you know, smaller dollars over the life of the lease. Make sure you pay attention to the down payment at the lease signing. And so here's an example, you might see an ad that says you know, lease payment is only 1.99 a month and that sounds like a great deal for thirty six months. The catch is, is that it might require a $3,600 down payment. So, if you amortize the down payment, then actually that 1.99 special, becomes 2.99. So, you really have to kind of look at total costs.
And then lastly, dealerships use the term, money or lease factor, when they're calculating your financing costs and a lease factor is not the same as an interest rate. So, you have to make sure the dealer converts that lease factor into a comparable interest rate so you know what your financing charges are.
Shawn: At the end of the day, does one method wind up being more expensive more often than the other, or can we tell that?
Nina: You know what, it really depends on how long, if you're going to hold the car for a long time, you're better off buying. But if you know, and if you're not, if you just really enjoy driving and you want to have a new car, then go ahead and lease. I mean, there's pros and cons to both, to be honest with you, it's not one size fits all.
Shawn: Alright Nina, great. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Alright, Nina Mitchell is with The Colony Group, for more go to wtop.com and search Her Wealth.
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