By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF®, Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM, Accredited Investment Fiduciary®
What would happen if you were to die today? It’s a question I ask all of my clients at some point. Often, the first response I receive is superficial and sarcastic, making light of the question. For all of us, it’s hard to imagine our own death and certainly not fun to think about. But it IS the one certainty for all of us.
What would happen if your spouse were to die today? That’s the point during our discussion when things tend to turn somber. What would happen if you got the call that said your husband or wife wasn’t going to make it home today? Life would change, big time.
That’s the starting point that I use to help people plan for their families (or businesses), for the lasting impacts their death will have on those who love them and who rely on them. The best planning is centered on deep discussion. If you are a couple or have a family who rely on you, how will life change?
Right now, what are your goals and intentions for your family? Would that have to change if you or your spouse were to die today? Would your family be able to live in the same house they are in? What would their income needs be? Can their needs and your intentions currently, with the assets and plans you have in place, be met without you? Would plans for the kids to go to college have to change? Would you still want to pay for their weddings? Do you own a business? Would it have to be sold? How would your final expenses be covered?
Once we talk through the goals and intentions, and the “what if’s”, financial things begin to become a little clearer. It’s at this point that we work through a detailed financial worksheet to see where financial needs are adequately met and where holes may be. From here, there are choices to make. If there are holes in your financial plan’s what if: what would happen if your spouse were to die today, who assumes the risk? Do you? Or, as with other forms of risk management, is insurance a wise choice? If so, how much, what type with which company, and at what cost?
The best financial plan is one that is well thought out, stress tested with “what if’s” and balanced with risk management. After all, you can spend a great deal of time, effort and even money putting together a great financial plan. You can spend years working on your career and your family’s goals, but your financial plan can be completely wiped out in the event of premature death of you or your spouse.
It’s a great time for a resolution. Have the deep discussion. Are there holes that need to be covered? This could be the greatest thing you do for your spouse and your family this year.
(Author’s note: Due to industry regulations, I am prohibited from responding to any online comments. I welcome you to contact me via e-mail or phone, including suggestions for article topics).
LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.SchulferAndAssociates.com | blog.
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Accredited Wealth Management Advisor SM and AWMA® are trademarks or registered service marks of the College for Financial Planning in the United States and/or other countries.
The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation is earned through the Center for Fiduciary Studies.