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Too often, there isn’t enough dialogue about our household money strategies. Sure, we talk about the bills and the budget, but how often do we talk about a plan, or what happens to the plan if life doesn’t go accordingly?
At least once a year, I challenge you to sit down with your spouse for a hard conversation: If one of you were to pass away, would you be prepared? What would each of you need to know in order to maintain your family’s financial standing?
Start by reviewing your life insurance to make sure it’s adequate for your needs. USAA recommends that the amount of life insurance you carry is enough to pay off all Liabilities, help replace lost Income for at least five years, and pay for final expenses and Education. In other words, life insurance should help your loved ones pay for L.I.F.E.
Having adequate coverage is just one part of the plan. According to a recent LIMRA study, almost half of Americans say they would feel the financial impact from losing their partner’s income within as little as six months. With that in mind, having a roadmap will help your beneficiaries avoid financial pitfalls and navigate challenging times with fewer worries.
Recently, I updated a personal note with steps that I encourage my wife to take if I’m no longer around. Your own personal note or needs may be different, but something this short and simple can be very valuable during a difficult time.
To my wife:
If tomorrow comes and I am not blessed with seeing it, I want you to feel confident that our family is financially secure. We purchased life insurance coverage to prepare for this unexpected event, and I know you’ll be able to transition as easily as possible with everything you need to pay our bills and move forward financially. Here’s a list of next steps to help guide you in the coming months:
- Work with our financial planner to figure out the best way to create an income from our life insurance proceeds. She can help create a budget that will ensure you have plenty of money now — and in the future — to meet our family’s daily needs.
- Pay off the mortgage. Our house payment is one of our biggest monthly expenses, and once it’s paid off, the monthly expenses will be a lot more manageable. Additionally, the house will be a more valuable asset if you and the kids move and you decide to sell or rent it.
- Pay off any debts that we have, such as the cars, student loans and credit cards. Your money will go further without added interest payments.
- Combine my retirement money with your own. Save it for your retirement and continue to save for your future.
- Take care of the kids’ college so they won’t have to bear the burden of student loans.
I love you. I love our kids. Every minute with you was a blessing. Please continue to protect our family, and enjoy a beautiful, long life. – Your husband
Financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California, License # 0E36312), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.
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