By Director of Finance Jill Doyle
Every now and then something happens in life that takes you completely by surprise. It’s great when the surprise is good news – a new baby, a new job, you win the lottery. But, surprises are not always good. For instance, Hurricane Irene affected every single one of us in different ways.
Even more recently, I was surprised by the death of my 31-year old niece. I spent a lot of time with my family following her death, and our support and love for each other got us through. But some of the things I learned almost shocked me. Her husband never handled any of the bills so he had no idea how much money they had, how to write a check or pay a bill online, or how to balance a checkbook.
They only had enough life insurance to pay for the funeral so he didn’t know how he would make the next car payment or the next house payment. They were a young couple so financial planning was not one of their top priorities. They thought they had time for that. Actually, I can really relate to these feelings but I took this time to look at my own family financial picture.
• Do you have a health care proxy?
• Do you have a will?Are your kids protected?
• Do you know how much money you have in savings and checking?
• Do you know what bills you have and when they are due?
• Do you have life insurance?
• Are you an organ donor?
• Do you have contact numbers for immediate family members?
• Do you know where important documents are located such as your marriage license?
• What would happen to your family if something happened to you?
The internet has many resources that can help answer all of these questions.
Tragedies are not easy to deal with; but believe it or not, you can be prepared.
Take one step at a time with your loved ones involved. You might feel funny talking about all this but it is also amazing what you will find out along the way. Life is too short to worry about everything but the people who are closest to you will be forever grateful that you took the time now to think about them in the future!