Just before my husband and I got married, we got incredibly devastating news: His mother was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and didn’t have much time left with us. It took us by surprise for sure. It came fast and furious and everyone was in shock. Since she was in her early forties, a life-threatening illness was not on her radar or anyone else’s. That’s just not something you think is possible. Quickly after the diagnosis we realized that this definitely wasn’t something she had been financially planning for. Why would she have been?
Most women that young are not at all ready to take a look at financial planning for a chronic or life threatening illness. It’s something we think we can wait and do later. I learned many things during this time in our family’s life, but one in particular is that you never get a warning. You won’t get a phone call or a letter or sign from the universe that something bad is on its way. It just shows up. You can’t ask for an extra day or two. You can’t press pause. We were all living our lives, preparing for a wedding and looking forward to one day when all of our parents would meet their grandchildren.
Then one day it all changed. There was no going back and retroactively planning. We couldn’t rewind and save money, or go back and get life insurance. It was too late for all of it. That left us scrambling to put things into place to help take care of her well while she was still with us and to cover her final expenses. We didn’t just spend time concerned about her but we spent time worrying about money, too. When you are grieving, the last thing you want to do is worry about how you’re going to pay for it. Planning for things we can’t control is important and it’s not at all meant to make you scared or feel worried. It is so comforting to know that even in the worst of times, if we ever have to experience them, that our family will not have to worry about the financial burden it may leave.
If you feel a bit unprepared at the moment and unsure what you may need, the easiest way to take a step forward is to talk to a financial planner. Having this conversation with someone like Prudential is easy and so much more effective than having to complete your own research. I like having a real voice I can speak to and ask questions.
Raising kids is challenging enough. But what happens when you have to help take care of your parents at the same time? Check out this video below for the lessons Renee has learned as a member of the “sandwich generation.”