When I got over the shock and put my feet back on the ground, I started thinking, “I need to get my life back on track.”
“Before my husband passed away, we were both self-employed, worked out of the house, and just had a brand new baby and three other young children. He passed very suddenly and the whole experience was very traumatic. It turned me upside down. Being 40 years old, I wasn’t a big planner and we were still a newer family so I didn’t know passwords to his accounts, because he was more of the investor. Later in his file cabinet I found articles he had cut out from The Wall Street Journal about saving for retirement and 401(k)s. When I got over the shock and put my feet back on the ground, I started thinking, ‘I need to get my life back on track.’
“Oddly, there was an account that I didn’t even know was there... I got a phone call from a brokerage account who told me there was money in a retirement account under his name. Apparently, he had an account through ETrade, and the company was bought out by a few other companies so his account kept falling through the cracks. So finally, when I was notified, it was pretty cool to see 14 years went by with no activity and how that money grew into something.
“Through these kinds of challenges, it either breaks you or it makes you. I know that’s cliché but there’s something in me that, when so many things were going wrong after he passed, I just felt like, no matter what, I got this.”
Photograph & interview by Marley Molkentin
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