Kathleen Rehl is empowering a growing number of women, a population often undiscussed and unplanned for: widows.
Rehl will share her expertise on this “fast-growing demographic” at 1 p.m. today at the Women’s Clubhouse, in a talk titled “Widowhood: What You Need to Know Now,” a lecture that is part of the Women’s Club Professional Women’s Network.
After her husband’s death in 2007, Rehl, a certified financial planner, put her “financial-planning hat back on” and undertook the economic burdens that come with widowhood. She soon realized how difficult death would have been for other widows who did not necessarily have her background.
In an effort to help others, Rehl wrote a book that touches on financial, personal and emotional tips for recently widowed women. Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows was published in 2010.
“I discovered in my own healing process that my widowed sisters needed better tools to feel more safe and secure about their money issues,” Rehl said.
Her Women’s Club talk will not just be relevant to widows, Rehl said, adding that the biggest mistake women make is not being prepared for a loved one’s death. It is important for women to know their options beforehand.
“When someone goes, there are questions they don’t deal with any of the time,” Rehl said. “Where are our investments? Are the beneficiaries up to date on the retirement plan? It’s a double jeopardy, because when [a widow] is in the midst of grief, she has no clue about the financials.”
She wanted her book to serve both as a financial guide — with a checklist featuring items like insurance and health care — and also as a spiritual journal, with “reflection exercises.”
The book is printed in color and features original artwork and photography. Rehl intended for the book to be given as a gift — whether it be given by “a relative, friend, attorney, pastor or rabbi.”
Since the book’s publication, Rehl has made 18 presentations across the country. Part of the proceeds from Moving Forward on Your Own are donated to widows and their families.
“I find it very exciting and fulfilling for me,” Rehl said. “The book has been part of my own healing process.”