I’m grateful for you and that you’re reading this blog!
I took a break from writing last Monday because I wanted to leave space to honor my Uncle, who passed away 2 weeks ago. Death is a familiar visitor to many families, and while my family is no different, it has been quite a while since we planned a funeral.
I know you’re saying, “Charisse, I do not want to be reading about death.” But, before you tune out, just read a little further because you have the opportunity to prepare properly for a stage of life that everyone will go through one day.
Putting aside the grieving and emotional whiplash we endure, death also forces us confront the economic realities of burying our loved ones. While I strongly believe that no one can be truly prepared to handle death, you can prepare to not let the occurrence of death financially cripple you or your loved ones.
Two Pieces of Dead-on Advice (Ok, you can smile here – I couldn’t help it)
Start the Conversation Now. My grandmother talks about death like a birthday party she’s planning for herself – how much it’s going to cost, what she wants to wear, where it will be, and who’s to come. On one hand, this frightens me to no end as I do not want to think of my grandmother leaving this earth. On the other hand, I am grateful for her foresight into how important it is to plan for the inevitable.
If you do not have a grandmother or parent who talks about death like a birthday party, that’s OK. But, do begin your own conversation with your loved ones (parent, spouse, child) to find out what they want to happen in case they (or you) leave this earth. According to the National Funeral Directors Association in 2012,the average funeral cost was $7,775, not including cemetery costs, and so I want everyone around you to be prepared.
Life Insurance Is a Must. In my first job at JPMorgan, I remember one of my colleagues reflecting after his lunch meeting with his financial advisor. He said “Life insurance is a priority for me because I do not want my wife and kids have financial hardship in case I get hit by a bus.” Life insurance policies often carry a death benefit clause, which is very helpful to pay for burial and funeral expenses. So, ask yourself these key questions and work backwards to see if you are adequately covered:
- How will my funeral expenses be covered?
- What kind of coverage does my life insurance provide?
- Do my loved ones know what the policy is, and where it is?
According to the American Council of Life Insurers, 41% of all life insurance policies in force in 2013 were through groups, including workplaces, churches and other associations. Remember, however, that most plans through your employer are not portable, so if you leave your job, I do not want you to be out of luck.
My Uncle Tommy always spoke life into me, whether it was to compliment me on an outfit or simply tell me he loved me. I now take his love and share my own with you:
You are destined for great things.
Take hold of your own future.
Have the courage to plan for the unexpected.
If you've made a smart money decision when it comes to preparing for death or funerals, please leave a comment below.