The last time we spoke ...Submitted by Margaret Bennett on March 21st, 2017
Recently, a friend of my parents' died suddenly. He had been ill but his death was not anticipated when it happened. I'd known this person my whole life and had most recently seen him and his wife six months ago. He was happy and we had a great conversation. When my mum called to tell me he'd died I was remembering the conversation and what we'd talked about with regards to life, work, love and influence.
There are a few people that I remember our final conversation before they died. In some cases, if the final conversation was in hospital or when they were very ill, such as the case with one of my grandfathers, I'll reflect on the last time we spent together before that final illness. In my grandfather's case it was watching the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympics in February before he died in April. My husband and I had gone to Ottawa to visit them and see a concert over the Family Day weekend. It's funny how I can remember where we were sitting and some of the things that were said, and if I really thought about it I could probably even tell you what I was wearing (I have an eerily good memory). At the time I didn't know that it would be the last visit with him but I can now remember a lot of what we talked about and what we did that weekend. It's a great memory, made more special now that he's gone. Other than my grandfather there are a few people that I can clearly remember the last time we spoke and those memories bring a smile to my face.
Someone once told me that life insurance is the greatest love letter you can leave to your family. In the time of grief, they won't have to worry about final expenses, how they will pay bills, how to maintain normalcy for the surviving spouse/children/parents/other dependents. It allows time for the family to do what they need to do to deal with the loss, whether it's a family trip, extended time off work, counseling, hiring another caregiver to help, etc. It lets the survivors know that you were thinking of how to make life without you as easy as possible financially.
I'm a huge fan of podcasts and one of the podcasts I listen to has a life insurance sponsor. They talk about the impact of the loss of the primary wage earner in the script that they read about life insurance. While that's true, I have to fast-forward through those ads because it bugs me. It bugs me because it leaves out the need to insure both spouses. If the primary wage earner dies, there is a significant impact to family finances, without a doubt. But when the secondary wage earner (even a stay-at-home parent) dies, there can be significant cost as well. Here are some of the ways the finances could be impacted: You may need to hire a nanny or daycare; the primary wage earner may need to cut back on hours or change jobs without the other parent there to care for them meaning reduced income for the family; you may have to put dependent parents into long-term care; you may need to pay for a relative to accompany you on family vacations, etc. There is a lot that goes into a needs analysis when we think about the insurance each person needs. At the end of the day, we want the family and survivors to be minimally impacted financially by the death so insurance is not just for the primary wage earner. A thorough needs analysis will consider your family's needs in the worst-case scenario and make sure that we calculate the insurance required on everyone in the family. It's a difficult thing to think about and plan for, but we have to make the time for the people we care about. The podcast ad feels like they leave that planning for the family out of the messaging and that's short-sighted.
If anyone depends on us for care or contributions, we need to plan for life insurance coverage. If we have properly planned – regardless of our age – to get the insurance coverage our survivors will need, we will show our family and loved ones that we cared about them and we loved them enough to make sure they were provided for. We can even plan for charitable contributions to organizations we care about through leaving a life insurance legacy. The life insurance legacy that we leave is the last time we spoke. Let's make it memorable.