As a financial counselor, I am asked all the time, "What is your number one piece of advice?" And do you know what that is? Work backwards.
And I bet you now have the standard puzzled look on our face that I get all the time when I say that out loud. What in the world do I mean when I say that? Well let me explain.
What is the only certainty you have in your life? Unfortunately, the only thing we know for sure is that our life will end at some point. It really sucks that the only guarantee we have in life is that it will end, but it is what it is and you must prepare for it. So when you are preparing your financial plan, think death, retirement, debt, children's education. Of course we all know financial planning is not this simple, everyone's situation is fact dependent and so the format sometimes has to be adjusted. This format gives you an idea of how to put your brain in working order to work your financial life backwards.
What's the first question I always ask during the beginning of a financial counseling session....Do you have life insurance for you and your entire family? I feel that this question is the absolute most important question to ask at the beginning.
Here's what I never will understand....we seriously do not want to think about the end of our life. We, as a culture, think that it's morbid and negative to think about it. I say that is the wrong way to approach it. Life is beautiful, but it must end at some point and it will keep on going without you. You want to celebrate the life of those who leave you, not sit in a funeral home with swollen puffy eyes from crying and nausea as you discuss payments on the services and burial and think how in the world am I going to pay for it?
Death catches us all off guard. It doesn't matter if your loved one goes
instantly or fights a long fight. Death still delivers that one huge
punch to the gut when he takes your loved one away. Do you know how many
people I have seen be devastated that not only because the person they
love is gone, but they also left them with debt and no plan? This is no
way to care for those you love. You must take the time to think about
helping your loved ones heal when you leave them. You will leave a hole in
someone's heart, we all will and we must acknowledge at some point.
Taking the time to minimize the stress from your absence is a beautiful
gift to leave behind..
Here's the secret, square it all away now and get life insurance. Take control of your life today and make the phone call and just take out enough to bury you and pay off your debts if you have any. Don't forget to take out just enough to bury your children, for just in case. And here's the important question to ask your insurer....Are my children automatically covered under my policy? Our girls are both covered under mine at no additional charge. It's a very nice feature many insurance companies add to your policy.
I know many of us just are so busy living now and we do not take the time to think about tomorrow, much less the end. I can tell you that when you finally sit down and take the time to acknowledge all of those necessary details, you will sleep a lot better at night.