Kathleen Rehl returns to present research on later life, love, money for PWN

Attention widows who need sound advice about financial security and transitions, widows who are involved in or contemplating a romantic partnership and members of their families: Kathleen Rehl is back, for now.

A leading authority on widows and their financial issues, and the founder and owner of Rehl WEALTH Collaborations LLC, she said her fourth consecutive Chautauqua Professional Women’s Network presentation may be her last for a while.

At 1 p.m. Monday at the Chautauqua Women’s Club, Rehl will share early findings of her ongoing research on “Later Life, Love and Money: Widows Navigating Romance and Finance.”

The purpose of her current study is to illuminate financial experiences of widows age 50 and over who enter an exclusive relationship following their husband’s death, so that they may avoid serious mistakes and follow successful paths, and so that their families and professional advisers may gain insight.

Rehl said a Chautauquan who came to her talk last summer and happened to be seated in the row below her at the Amphitheater a couple days later, suggested this research topic.

“She said, ‘I want you to talk about widows like me, who remarried, and how we’re dealing with money.’ And I said, ‘Bingo, that’s it. This could be sexy and attractive,’” Rehl said. “‘Widows doing romance and finance. I started thinking of the widows who had attended my workshops.’”

In her abstract about her study, Rehl wrote, “Currently there is very little evidence-based research on widows and their financial issues. This study will be an important addition to move the scholarly research needle forward in this field.”

“There is such a lack of evidence on widows and finance that some people may call it appalling,” she said.

Rehl herself is a widow who has been in a committed relationship for nearly seven years. She earned her first two degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctor of Philosophy in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Twenty years later Rehl became a certified financial planner, and in January 2015, a certified financial transitionist. She is the author of Moving Forward On Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows, and several e-booklets.

Rehl’s research team consists of six others. Their current study emerged from their initial empirical research, which is described in “Widow’s Voices: The Value of Financial Planning,” in January’s Journal of Financial Service Professionals.

At the end of her talk Monday, Rehl said she will invite women over 50 who have remarried or repartnered to participate in her study anonymously. She will also accept referrals.

Afterwards, Rehl will lead a two-hour workshop at the CWC House that will be limited to 12 people, “Creating and Sharing Your Legacy Lifeprint.”

“This workshop is not about widows and money and romance,” Rehl said. “It is a way to pass hopes, values, dreams and love on to the next generation.”


The author Deborah Trefts

Deb Trefts is a policy scientist with extensive United States, Canadian and additional international experience in conservation. She focuses on the resolution of ocean and freshwater-related challenges and the art and science of deciphering and developing public policy at all levels from global to local.