As Mary Todd Lincoln’s character in “The Widow Lincoln” faces dozens of unpaid bills for home furnishings, clothes and jewelry, she asks, “How will I ever pay these debts? I am nothing. I am no one.” On top of moving out of the White House, mothering her sons and moving forward with her life, Lincoln must deal with all these financial stresses. She no longer has her husband to rely on for emotional support, income or an identity. It’s a crisis many women in the 21st century face, too.
A recent article in U.S. News & World Report, titled “Modern Money Lessons from Mary Todd Lincoln,” reports that experts recommend participating in money management throughout marriage and preparing for the possibility of one day being on your own, like many women eventually are, due to divorce or death.
Becoming a widow often means a drastic change and a new way of life, whether in 1865 or 2015. For many, it means understanding how to manage finances by yourself and experiencing less income, along with debilitating grief.