Women live longer than men and don’t participate in the workforce as consistently, which puts them in a tougher position when it comes to living off of retirement funds. But after reading through this list of 12 things women can do to protect themselves from financial ruin in their final days, we’ve decided that old ladies are just goths with even crazier makeup and clothes. It starts off with the basics—”start your own retirement account,” “invest in stocks,” “put your retirement savings before your kids tuition bills”—but then takes a turn for the morbid and becomes all about death, divorce, and more death. Here are the gloomiest tips—enjoy!
8. Elect a survivor’s benefit. Depending on your situation (e.g., whether or not you expect to outlive your husband, and whether you have a pension of your own or other assets), it may make sense to take a reduced pension in exchange for continuing payments after your husband’s death.
9. Become a primary beneficiary. “Beneficiaries on retirement documents always take precedence over individuals named in a will.”
10. For Divorcees: Negotiate for your ex’s retirement assets. “You aren’t automatically entitled to a share of your husband’s plan, so make sure it’s on the table when you negotiate a settlement.”
11. For Divorcees: Review your ex-husband’s social security benefit. If you were married at least 10 years, have been divorced for at least 2, haven’t remarried, and you and your ex are both at least 62 years old, you can collect 50% of his benefit checks.
12. Claim widow’s benefits from Social Security “As a widow, you can generally receive the greater of your husband’s Social Security benefits or your own.”