Have you told your kids about the facts of life?

Date: April 25, 2017 Author: Barry Greenberg Categories: Advice

As children, many of us assume that our life will follow an easy and straightforward path. First we’d graduate from college or university, then we’d go on to start a successful career, get married and have a family. From there, we’d enter our prime money-making years, retire at 65 and eventually pass our estate down to our children.

It’s a lovely, happily-ever-after fairy tale. The reality, however, as many of us have learned along the way, isn’t always as simple. Careers can be disrupted by market downturns or failed businesses, marriages can end in divorce, prime earning years can be stunted by critical illness and retirement funds can be whittled away by living too long.

In fact, and I’m sorry to have to be the one to debunk the fairy tale, statistics show that a 40-year-old non-smoking female has a 45% chance of dying, becoming critically ill or disabled before retiring at the age of 65. But that statistic is slightly misleading — a 40-year-old woman actually has a 35% chance of becoming disabled before the age of 65 and an 18% chance of becoming critically ill but only a 4% chance of dying.

The news isn’t really much better for younger women either. A 30-year-old woman, for example, has a 41% chance of becoming disabled and a 19% chance of becoming critically ill before retiring at 65.

So, while new parents usually try to invest in life insurance when starting a family in case the unthinkable happens, with those sobering statistics pushing aside the fairy tale life, have you thought about what would happen to all those daily expenses that must be paid if you suddenly found yourself sick or disabled and unable to work? You know, the mortgage, the car payments, the heating bill and all those grocery store trips. Where would the money come from and how would you protect and maintain your current lifestyle?

As a child, our parents painstakingly gave us the facts-of-life talk — you know the one about the birds and the bees. And now, as an adult and a parent, it’s your turn to have that same talk with your children. But, the talk that few people think to have with their kids is the one on how to protect oneself from the unexpected in life.

When they’re old enough to understand, talk to your kids about the life insurance policies you’ve invested in and why, and teach your kids about the importance of things like disability insurance and critical illness insurance to protect themselves against the unexpected. Children need to know that while you may plan to have a perfect life, much of what actually happens cannot be predicted or foreseen.

How have you protected yourself and your family? What’s your plan? Talk to us about it. Let us help.