When Renee Litinger was widowed in 1989, her children were 6 months, 3, and 5 years old. In her mid-30s at the time, Litinger was, understandably, completely overwhelmed. Not only was she grieving the loss of her husband, but she also had three young kids to raise, all of whom were still entirely dependent on her.
The one thing she wasn’t overwhelmed by, though, was her finances. This may come as a surprise, especially to those of you who struggle to budget your money or to figure out each month what percentage of your income should go toward rent and other expenses. But during a time of tremendous stress and sadness, Litinger at least knew she had her finances in order because of the experience she’d gained throughout her career. While her undergrad degree was in psych, she went on to earn a masters in both business and social work — and then worked at an accounting firm. She ended up at Citibank in the ’80s, and there, as an assistant VP, she ran the business management office responsible for financials, budgeting, and forecasting.
In 1987, two years before her husband passed away, Litinger moved to an assistant VP position at Lehman Brothers, where she worked in various expense management and financial reporting capacities. Needless to say, she found the skills she’d gained at work ended up being a huge help to her not only on a practical level, but also on a very personal level. Yet she knows that for many other women who wind up in similarly overwhelming positions, figuring out their financial future is not as easy.
That’s why Litinger — after retiring from a nearly 40-year career in financial services — is launching a new business that will provide fundamental financial management for widowed, separated, and divorced women.
“[The business] will be a combination of using my own financial background and also giving back a little bit,” she says. “I want to help women who I know are in an overwhelming situation with fundamental, basic financial management.” Litinger clarifies that she’s not a financial planner or advisor, but she simply hopes to help women understand basics, like organizing financial files, setting up a bill-paying schedule, and monitoring their monthly spending.
Ultimately, she says, she hopes to pay it forward by arming women with confidence during what’s likely a period of extreme emotional turmoil. She’ll work closely with her clients — and even in conjunction with other professionals — to understand what their financial drivers are, and she’ll help provide them with tools to promote self sufficiency and to make well-informed decisions.
For more on Litinger's business, check out her website here: https://www.rlitinger.com/