Life is Unpredictable


Life is Unpredictable

Last week, a Metro North train taking New York City commuters home to Westchester County, struck a car that was stuck on the train tracks killing six people. When the news broke, I was in DC for client meetings; however, I received texts from a few friends and family asking if I was okay because I commute home on Metro North when I work in the city. I honestly didn’t think much about this accident after I originally heard the news, until my hubby called me the next day and shared that we knew one of the impacted families.

One of the men that died on the train was the father of a boy who played on Will’s soccer team last year and he left behind this boy, two other young boys and his wife. Upon hearing this news, my heart broke and immediately I said to my hubby “I hope they had life insurance.”

Confession: I was not prepared

I confess that until I became a financial advisor over three years ago, I never thought much about life insurance. I knew that I had some coverage with my company, and I just assumed that this was all I would need. However, once I started learning more about life insurance, I realized just how important it is, especially if you have children.

Your 20s to 40s represent your prime earning years where you build most of your wealth; however, if this time is cut short, your wealth trajectory will be dramatically impacted, especially if something were to happen to the primary earner in the household. I always assumed we were covered because we both made decent salaries; however, I neglected to think about the long term financial impact of the loss of one of those salaries.

For me, though, the biggest motivator to secure life insurance was the thought of my hubby not being able to afford our home should I pass. Losing a loved one is awful enough; however, I couldn’t even imagine disrupting my son’s life with a move and financial distress on top of the emotional distress.

Don’t leave your loved ones unprepared

Last year I lost a wonderful friend to a sudden illness who died at 40 and left behind two young daughters. Six commuters died on a train coming home from work last week leaving behind loved ones. Twelve years ago, my brother-in-law passed away after a freak accident. What all of these things continue to confirm for me is that life is unpredictable.

None of us truly know when our time here will end and it’s sad to think about our time ending; however, to me it’s even more distressing to think about leaving loved ones behind in financial distress. Life insurance is truly the only way to prepare for the unpredictability of life. I understand that I pay a cost every month for something I may never use; however, I sleep well at night knowing that the monthly cost is worth it to know that my family will have one less worry should something unforeseen happen.

I have written a few great posts on life insurance that you can check out:

Financial Fitness Series: Life Insurance

Safe and Sound

If you want to compare policies and costs, I like the site Policy Genius. I don’t get paid to refer people there; I just like the site. I always believe that good things can happen from bad situations, and I hope this recent horrific accident will lead others to better prepare their family’s finances for the unpredictability of life.

Do you have life insurance? If not, why not?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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