Wednesday, October 19

Financial Planning: Let’s Talk About Death for the Living

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
-Mark Twain

When people started talking about death the normal reaction would be a bit off. We tend to associate the topic of death or dying as something morbid and taboo to some degree. But in reality, death is inevitable and we all are going to die somehow, sometime, it’s a matter of scheduling as the angel of death might be busy with other stuff.
Seriously, death is a serious topic that we should all talk about. Our life here on earth is not permanent and like all living organism dying is one process that we have to go through in the cycle called life. Death is a renewal and we will one day withered and die.

The Relevance of Financial Planning to Death
The aspect of financial planning for the living is equally important as planning for death. There are always challenges associated when people talk about death. The very topic of death sad to say is still a big taboo in our society and so thus talks about money are often avoided. When people ask you about these 2 subjects for sure you’ll feel they are too intrusive. 

In reality, living and dying are something that we all have to go through and planning ahead for these events should come as a priority.

Having a strong reluctance to talk about death, how can a family plan for this unavoidable event? 

If you are the head of a family or the sole decision maker the ball is in your hand and you could easily open the subject to the rest of the members especially to your wife, husband or parents. However, if you are not the head of the family things will be a bit difficult but still you can start discussing issues with your family members and at this point you must already devise a good plan or actions so that it would be easier for your loved ones to understand your point.  

Discussing death with my mom….

For any daughter who loves her mom so much and who grew up with just one ‘present’ parent talking about death or dying is very difficult and depressing. But my mom keeps on pressing the issue for many years now. She started by making some “habilins” on what should I do in the event that she passes away. 

She will constantly remind of important matters. She would even tell me what songs she likes to play during her wake and burial- basta daw lahat ng sad songs na may "You and I". These things are morbidly horrifying for me but as I matured and grew older I am starting to realize that these are important matters and that being financially prepared for death is as important as preparing for the future. 

The future is coming whether we like it or not and of course we don’t want to face death at the most unexpected moment in our life.

My mom and I preparing for her death-

No, fortunately my mom is not afflicted with debilitating disease such as the big C, diabetes or kidney issues. She now religiously go on scheduled medical check-ups and takes her meds on time. She has some minor heart issue and high blood pressure but these are properly addressed and not a major concern.  

Oftentimes during intimate conversations my mom would open up the subject of her death and will gently remind me of the things to do when she dies. It’s morbid I admit but I have to keep an open mind and understand that talking about death is very practical.

How my mom talks about her death and the things she reminds me in the event of her demise:
To give you a proper perspective on talking about death, I will make a list of the stuff we (my mom and I) constantly discuss and the things she already took care of-

1. She often reminds me where she keeps the important documents and will tell me one by one what they are. These documents are- birth certificates, land title, her life plan, her insurance policies, legal documents (we had cases involving family matters) and her sealed last will testament. 

2. She already introduced and acquainted me with her trusted lawyer. My mom would always tell me even during my younger years that any person should have a trusted lawyer friend by his side.

3. We already checked out her plot in Loyola Cemetery. Already checked the status of her documents for this and inquired about the other expenses in her burial as well as her wake. She believes that planning ahead is very important. She just wants me to be prepared in any event and death is one of them.

4. Mom already talked about her will. Heartbreaking it may sound but my mama sure has some points as to why she needs to discuss the details of her will early on even if she is very healthy at 70. 

How do I feel about this?
Morbid. Morbid. Morbid. Been telling myself this, since I keep hearing my mom reminding me on preparing about her death while she is still roaming the malls and would spend tireless hours shopping. 

But as I hit a certain age like now- I begun to appreciate how honest and candid my mom is about the subject of death. She is just very practical.

As the eldest daughter and the current head of the family she wants me to be prepared and not to worry much about the important matters that I have to tackle in the event she passes away. 

Her constant reminder is now positively reinforcing her practical ideals on me. She is sparing me from the worry and the anxiety of dealing about her death.

Now what about the financial aspect of death? 

Yes, I know where the important documents are safely hidden. Yes, I am now friends with her ‘young and good looking’ lawyer. Haha..she got some taste too. Yes, I am now familiar of the location her cemetery plot. Already had an idea of what her wake and burial would be. And yes, she already elaborated on her intentions on our small family property. 

Money talks. Money is crucial in any stage in life and my mom clearly knows about this. That is why she already bought and paid off her Loyola memorial plan many years ago including the funeral service. Am I lucky or what? 

She is also expecting that I could get some cash out of her insurance policies in the event of her death. My mom also gave a rundown of what amounts I could get from her policies in case of her death. 

Sun Life #Money4Life session with Aya Laraya helps me understand the need for financial security after death.

It was a stormy afternoon- windy and raining but each session of the #Money4Life talk with Mr. Aya Laraya is something I could not miss. There are valuable lessons that I could learn and on this October session the talk is all about being financially prepared for events that we all cannot avoid such as sickness and death.

Sun Life offers investment opportunities that are less risky and can strategically took care of problems during death or sickness. Like the Sun Life Prosperity Card that I am very interested in, starts only at 5K and this is a good amount to start diversifying financial opportunity by investing it to stocks or other long term investment. 

Mr. Aya Laraya during the Sun Life #Money4Life talk

Mr. Laraya gave out good reasons why we should have investments that could take care of the financial need in the event such as death. Well as I already shared, my mom is very honest and practical to discuss and give out instructions when the time comes. 

Having a form of investment such as a life insurance is very important since it will be useful in financing expenses that comes right after dying such as:

  • Inheritance tax- yes, there is a prepared last will testament but who among the family members would shoulder the tax in the process of transferring the property? The dilemma among siblings can be prevented if there is a fund intended for this purpose.
  • Burial expenses could be very expensive. Again, if a loved one has already allotted insurance for this then the family will not have to go through the hardships of raising funds for this expense.
  • Medical bills can also be a big consideration in the event when a loved one succumbed from an illness. Hospital bills could pile up and if there is a fund just for this type of expense then the family would be spared from the burden.
These are just a few scenarios that Mr. Aya Laraya, a noted financial expert talked about in our last Sun Life Money for Life session this October. He made good points and we should apply them on our lives to avoid financial issues during death.

I am a bit lucky to have a mother who thinks ahead and thoughtful enough to consider the things that I will have to go through after her passing.

We all should be prepared whether we are preparing for own or for our loved one- the lesson here is to start working on a financial plan that will cover expenses that come right after death.

It’s not morbid to talk about death after all- so talk it out among your family and start preparing for the worst case scenarios. 

Talk to Sun Life and learn more ways to secure a better future.
Visit Sun Life Philippines to learn more.
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