Charlene could not believe it. She opened the door to the basement and stepped into a soggy carpet. She looked up and thought, “Really? This? After everything that has happened?” She shook her head and muttered, “Why?” As if dealing with a flooded basement wasn’t bad enough, what made Charlene’s situation even worse was 10 days prior, she attended a funeral—her beloved husband Bob’s funeral.
Bob and Charlene’s love story started over 43 years ago in Milwaukee. Bob’s charm, and definitely his wit, won over Charlene’s heart almost instantly. They were quickly married and started their careers. Bob was an engineer and Charlene an occupational therapist, which eventually led them to La Crosse.
After four decades together that included countless travel adventures, raising two children, and making lasting memories, Charlene, 65 at the time of Bob’s death in 2014, found herself grappling with some important financial questions. Like many women of her generation, she didn’t handle the finances. Now that responsibility was hers alone.
“I always knew that Bob was taking care of things and never really worried about it,” she says. “He enjoyed it and got up every morning to listen to the latest market news. That’s the time of day I miss him the most.
”Charlene says Bob tried to educate her about the family’s finances, noting it might be her responsibility one day, but that responsibility seemed overwhelming.
“When Bob died, I was torn apart, heart-broken. I cried at the drop of a hat, I didn’t sleep or eat well. I just felt like I was going crazy and didn’t want to deal with any of it,” Charlene says. “Coming home to a water-soaked basement was my wake-up call. It forced me to deal with things right away. It gave me a reason to start moving forward. [Bob] got my attention that time!”
Along with dealing with her grief, Charlene started to question her financial situation. Could she stay in her house? Would she need to get a job? Would she be able to maintain her lifestyle? Many new widows wonder if they are going to be OK financially. “It was all so overwhelming. I knew I needed help, and that’s when I found my angels at Trust Point.”
“I would look at the papers and it was foreign to me. I brought in file after file to Trust Point and they helped me make sense of it. Some of it was financial and some not, but they helped me, regardless. They understood my emotional state and they took the time to listen to my stories as the tears ran down my face. They encouraged me to take care of me first and make the financial decisions later.”
Over the course of many meetings and a few boxes of tissue, Trust Point provided Charlene with a clear financial picture; one that allowed her to feel confident in where she stood and what needed to be done to give her the financial freedom to continue to live her life the way she wanted. Charlene is trying to stay busy and active. Besides spending time with friends and family, she volunteers, does yoga, and tries to attend the many plays and concerts the La Crosse area has to offer.
“The loss of Bob was the most stressful event of my life. I appreciate that I could rely on Trust Point to help me manage through this difficult time, she says. “I wish I would have listened to Bob when he said to, but I think he would be pretty proud of what I have done and the financial knowledge I now have.”