24 January 2012

[talk: Nobody Plans on Dying.]

On Sunday night, after a God-filled church service, a few of us headed to McDonalds to let the kiddies have some fun and so we could chat and maybe have a ... sundae *grin*.  As we were chatting, one of my friends mentioned how her hubby lost both his mother and father within a couple of months - and how she couldn't believe the costs of a funeral.

Now ... my dad is in the financial industry - to which my hubby and brother are now both equal partners of the brokerage.  I say that, because I grew up in a home where I knew a lot about life insurance, disability insurance and wills.  I had my first life insurance policy when I was a pre-teen at a monthly rate of $12.13/month.   I knew about savings, about financial order ... and when I used to ask my dad what his favourite part of his job was, he would say it was when he presented a widow/widower with a much needed, unexpected cheque.  He was, and still is, the guy who brings some joy in a very hard time ... 

Now ... no one PLANS on dying.  I mean, we all know that we're going to ... but - like - later, right?  Much later??  We think that we have some sort of right to live to the age of 80 and see our children's children.

But realistically, we also know that's not true.

But the time we reach our 30's, most of us have encountered the loss of someone that was completely unexpected.   Either through an accident or illness, or perhaps through another terrible circumstance.  But we all know ... we ARE going to die.

So as I sat there, with this incredible group of people, I was literally shocked at hearing how some didn't have life insurance ... how some didn't have a will.  There is NO exaggeration when I say this ... I was literally panicked for them.

See ... what most people don't realize, is that a verbal agreement, "hey - would you take our kids if we bite the dust" - doesn't quite cut it.  Not even a little bit.  In fact, if you have children - and do not have a legal will/document stating where your children are to go, they go straight into the foster care system.  (This is for Canada, I must add ...).  This matter has nothing to do with life insurance.

And ... if you don't have life insurance and have debt of any sort - oh, please - please get some.    Just the mere cost of a funeral can put family members back for years with costs.  Life insurance is not meant to make another person rich.  It's to take care of YOUR stuff.  And a will isn't meant to be a burden - it's to RELIEVE the burden of those who are grieving after you're gone ... 

Now, you may say, "... but I don't have children" or whatever.  Again, this is simply how I was raised - but I believe that anyone who has ANY assets/debts of any kind needs to have their finances in order so at the time of their death it doesn't become a loved one's burden.  This means having both life insurance and an active will.

I know of a LOT of people who find the whole "will process" a big headache.  They can't decide what happens to their stuff, or worse - who "gets" their kids.  Sometimes the person they want to take responsibility, doesn't want to.  That just means, they need to find someone else.  Ignoring it is not going to make it better ... ignorance is not bliss.  And thinking, "oh, my kids are 12 now ... they can speak up for themselves" ... do NOT leave your most valuable assets - your kids - be left to fend for themselves.  Be a parent and make the right choices for them.

And, this may also be brand-new news to you - but if your child goes on a missions trip at 17 to a 3rd world country (like Uganda or Zambia), without life insurance - it can potentially be detrimental to their future eligibility for life insurance.  Many 3rd world illnesses can lay dormant for many, many years - and Life Insurance companies simply don't want to take that risk.  

Please check into that with your financial advisor or person who handles those matters.  Again, I am NOT a professional in this matter, but I am hoping to spark some conversation with you and your loved ones ... to go and have your questions answered by a reputable financial planner.

I really, really hope that everyone who reads this takes is seriously.  I only say it because I care ... truly.

I ALSO want to add that this is a very common thing - that is, people that are not prepared.  Most, actually, are not.  If you are NOT prepared, please-please know that this is not an insult to you or your situation in any way.  You are the norm.  But, as I said, I hope that this at least sparks conversation and that you and your loved one will find a solution that works for you.

Have a great one ... don't go dyin' on me *grin*.


Shawna said...

no comments, none!?!!?! We have insurance, and a will..some think that we're worth more dead than alive. I agree. We have a VERY reliable person as executor of our will.

We've had our life insurance policy since we were quite young {think early 20's} and have never quit paying the $19/month because it's not that much money and it's WORTH it!

Thanks for the talk ;) XoXo*s

White Girl said...

Great post, very wise, and so true.
I've had life insurance since I was a baby - 2 policies, in fact. I have since increased my coverage since the estimated cost of a funeral in the 70's has increased substantially. It took me a long, long time to convince my husband to get life insurance. He has some now, thank God, which just gives me that added assurance that I won't be left choking on a high funeral bill while in the middle of crippling grief (I'm planning on missing him when he goes. ha! What is it about death that brings out the jokes in me?)

My hubby and I did our wills after our children were born, mainly to provide our children with guardians in the event of our death. We took to hear similar parenting styles, values and lifestyle choice. Our chosen guardians are not family; they are friends-that-are-family that will give our genetic families equal opportunity to the children without either side feeling favoured/jilted.

Anyway, it's a hard topic to bring up but so important for the peace of mind of our families after we're gone. I hope your readers take what you've said to heart! Get life insurance! It's not money wasted! Write up a will! It's not time wasted!