My wife died. Should I sell our primary home?


Q. I know this isn’t completely a money question but I need an objective opinion. My wife died four months ago. We own a bigger home where our kids grew up and also a vacation condo. I think that the house is too big for me alone and I was thinking of moving to the condo, but my kids want me to keep the house. I can afford both for now but probably not for forever as I will retire in three years. How can I decide what to do?
— Still working

A. We’re very sorry for your loss.

Dealing with a loved one’s passing is difficult on its own, and when you get to goals and finances, it can be hard to balance the best choices.

You should deal with the grief first before making any major life or financial decisions, said Bill Connington of Connington Wealth Management in Paramus.

“Working through life insurance and investment assets can be time consuming but more importantly, very emotional,” he said. “After that is done, take some time to think through what you want to do.”

He said many family members will have their view as to what you should do, but at the end of the day, it is your decision and should be based on what is best for you emotionally as well as financially.

“If you can do that, then the decision on what to do with the house will be much easier,” he said. “But until you are ready to make those decisions, then I would think staying in the house at this point would make sense.”

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This story was originally published on Dec. 1, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.