Three financial lessons learned from a series of tragic events
The loss or severe injury of a loved one can have tremendous emotional—and financial—consequences. I can vouch for this and would never want you or your family to go down this path. Here is my story, and the lessons my personal tragedies have taught me.
The loss of my sister
When I was young, my 15 year old sister suffered a massive stroke. Tragically, we were told that she had irreversible brain damage and would not survive.
How many 15-year-old youths simply pass away? Our family was able to go on with life, but the void left by my sister's passing was never filled.
Lesson 1: From a financial planning perspective, our parents were not prepared for the costs of the funeral and burial due to the unexpected nature of this tragedy. Financial planning for unfortunate events like this could have made this already terrible time much less stressful.
A terrible accident
My wife and I were married while in our 20's. We had our first daughter a couple of years later.
When our daughter was six months old, my wife had an accident and spent 39 days in a hospital. She recovered with medical help, psychological help, help from our family and friends as well as from our faith.
Lesson 2: The severe injury of a loved one can cost your family dearly, from the temporary or permanent loss of income, additional expenses for rehabilitation, and ongoing treatment. A robust financial plan can make provision less stressful and provide great peace of mind as your family heals.
Becoming a single parent
We had our second daughter in 1977. While I thought everything was going fine, it was not. When our youngest daughter was 22 months old, my wife died. I was now the single parent of two young daughters. How was I going to cope and manage?
We had a small insurance policy on my wife, and this helped some. I also would receive Social Security benefits for the girls until they were each 18. This also helped. In addition, I had the incredible support of my parents, my minister, my faith, and that of many friends.
Lesson 3: The loss of a spouse leaves a family with a void that can have serious financial consequences—especially if you have children. You may need to make provision for daycare, household assistance, and many more of the responsibilities previously fulfilled by your spouse. Back then, the small insurance proceeds I received as a widower were not enough to cover all of these expenses, and more comprehensive coverage would have been helpful.
Getting back on our feet
A few years later I remarried, and the girls now had a new "mother" who adopted the girls as her own. I have made it my mission to help equip families to weather these storms from a financial perspective.
All too often, tragedy comes knocking in many unexpected ways for families young and old: Accidents. Disabilities. Cancer. Death. In many instances, these families are not prepared to deal with these tragedies.