In 2013, Ti Zhang received news of her mother’s sudden death.
At the time, they were in their mid-twenties and lived in Paris with their one-year-old and then-partner while their mother lived in Vancouver.
“It was a really big surprise. It was so sudden,” the 35-year-old recalled.
“I woke up one morning and I think I got the news, but the rest is hazy. I flew back and it was one of the most difficult flights I’ve ever taken.”
The grief Chan dealt with was overwhelming, they said.
In addition, they are forced to make decisions, from funeral expenses and handling the financial gifts that their grandmother left for their mother, to paying rent in both Vancouver and Paris when deciding their next steps. exacerbated by economic decisions made
“[It]was really confusing navigating as a young adult versus juggling a young baby and not having a lot of network in Vancouver,” Chan said.
Experts say it can be difficult to make decisions of all kinds, let alone financial decisions, during times of grief. That’s why it’s recommended that you take some time out before making any major financial decisions while you’re grieving.
Grief can be overwhelming. Tired, not sleeping well, not eating well. Sara McCullough, her certified financial planner at her WD Development in Kitchener, Ontario, said:
“One thing that really gets overlooked is that it’s okay to take time to make decisions.”
Once you’ve given yourself time to process the immediate shock that comes with grief, McCullough recommends looking at how long you can manage your basic spending. She calls it a “tight deadline.”
If your money is going to run out sooner or later, McCullough said you should consider how to get there. .
On the other hand, if you can afford to continue for at least a few months, I suggest reassessing your priorities. Because grieving the loss of a loved one, job, or relationship tends to shift priorities. This step can also take time, she said.
If you receive an inheritance, managing it can be especially difficult if you have never dealt with large sums of money. I encourage people to consult a financial planner.
Be careful of people who may try to sell you products or services when you are in a vulnerable state.
“Keep calm and say, ‘Whatever is being recommended, how does it work for me?'” says McCullough.
Sandra Fry, a credit counselor at the nonprofit Credit Counseling Association, agreed that you shouldn’t jump into financial decisions when you’re going through grief.
“Give yourself time, space, and grace to recover,” she said.
If you find yourself unable to handle urgent tasks like paying your rent or paying your mortgage, don’t be afraid to turn to someone you trust.
In addition to using nonprofit credit counseling services to provide free financial advice, Fry recommends reaching out to a therapist and support groups like GriefShare for mental health support.
Regarding funeral planning, Fry said it would be beneficial to have someone unaffected by the tragedy be your “consultant” to help you avoid making hasty and costly decisions.
“As soon as you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said.
Fry also suggests watching out for scams. For example, she may have a debt collection company trying to collect debts that belonged to your deceased loved one, but what most people don’t realize is that debts aren’t always inherited. She said no.
“The only debts that survive are joint debts, or debts that are secured by assets like cars and houses,” she said.
After reflecting on their experience, Zhang’s advice to others is to make plans for you and your loved ones in case one of you dies. You will be more financially literate so you can make sound financial decisions even in times of grief.
“Having this kind of knowledge prevents us from making really naive decisions in times of crisis,” they said.
“So start studying now. When these things happen, you’ll feel more confident and prepared, and you’ll be able to make more informed choices.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 25, 2023.
Noushin Ziafati, Canadian Press