My personal journey in a blended family
ESTIMATED 1MIN READ
One important financial planning aspect of bringing two families together in a blended family is the risk management portion of your plan.
In this writing, I’ll focus specifically on the life insurance component of risk management. Blended families now account for about 40% of families in our country according to the U.S. Bureau of Census. That means one if not both sides bring at least one child into the new family. If those children are under the age of 18, then maintaining adequate life insurance is a vital component to consider.
If the previous marriage of that parent ended as a result of divorce, then it is not uncommon for the courts (via a divorce decree) to require life insurance be purchased or maintained on one or both divorced spouses (especially if alimony and child support are involved).
It’s very important to have conversations about any of those requirements with your new spouse and discuss if your new family circumstances should dictate buying a separate policy to protect against the unforeseen.
Sitting down with a trusted life insurance professional to evaluate your overall family needs can be a life-changing investment of your time as a blended family.
ESTIMATED 2MIN READ
Communication is key for young families as they start to work on building a solid financial foundation.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to handling finances in a family. The arrangement that works for one family could be disastrous for another.
One example of conflicting strategies that different families use is the use of bank accounts. Some folks like to keep finances segregated by having separate accounts for separate people whether they be for a parent or a child. On the other hand, some families benefit from fewer moving pieces and operate out of one master bank account.
A family of fiercely independent people might not be able to get by with one master account. Having the ability for each family member to use the funds allocated to them as they see fit is more important than simplicity in cases like this. Another frequent divergence in the handling of finances is the bill pay process. Some families divide and conquer when it comes to paying the bills and some designate one person to have that responsibility. What it boils down to in my mind is designating your family’s financial responsibilities to be handled in a way that allows individual members to capitalize on their strengths. I run across many situations where one person in the family is best at budgeting while another person has strengths in other areas and this is ok.
My wife and I are expecting our first child together in November.
We are very excited to grow our family and we know that extra financial stress will be a part of the deal. We are preparing for that by communicating about every little detail that we can. We talk about budgeting, we talk about changes to income, we talk about inflation’s impact on our living expenses, etc. etc.
We have already been on the same page about our finances since before we got married because we communicated about finances early and often. We shared what we thought reasonable and prudent spending looked like. We share our previous financial struggles with each other and we shared our strengths and success stories as well. We put our minds together and came up with a way to run the household finances that gives us peace of mind, covers our needs, and gives each of us the flexibility that is reasonable and prudent in a healthy financial plan.
Make sure you prioritize communication with your spouse in your financial planning process.
MONEY DO’S AND DON’TS: Stop managing your money like it’s the 50’s!
ESTIMATED 3MIN READ
My personal experience planning for long-term care.
“But wait! You’re only 49!”
“Still 48 for a couple of weeks actually…”
A good friend of mine was taken aback when I mentioned that I was currently putting together my own plan for long-term care. Many folks believe that topic doesn’t need to come up until their mid-50s or later. I’m currently in the best shape I’ve been in a long time, so my health underwriting will likely be very good. If I were to wait until my mid-50s or early sixties, will I still be in the shameful physical condition then? Could some sort of unforeseen health event occur that would make me ineligible for long-term care insurance?
While my personal situation, being single again in my late 40’s requires a closer look at long-term care planning, mostly because I do not have a spouse to rely on for assistance if I need it in the future, there are reasons that anyone should consider this important insurance earlier that they might think. Consider this:
- Insurances in general, and long-term care coverage especially, gets more expensive as we age
- Unforeseen health events can make a person uninsurable, meaning long-term care insurance can’t be bought at any price
- It’s estimated the 70% of people age 65 will need some sort of long-term care assistance
- “Long-term care” doesn’t only mean a nursing home and the insurance helps receive services in your own home
- The cost / premium for long-term care insurance will never be more than the future expected costs, especially when using a hybrid life / long-term care insurance policy.
I’m playing the same numbers game in my head, and hear myself saying similar things to other folks:
- “Wow. That’s a lot of money.” (The premium will never be more than the benefit.)
- “What if I never need it?” (Your policy is also a life insurance policy, so you can let go of some of your current life insurance, and your beneficiaries will benefit if you don’t use it.)
- “Maybe I should wait until…” (It’s never less expensive than it is right NOW.)
The future generally doesn’t come along as tidy as we think it will right now. “Long-term care” is more than an insurance. It’s also a service and a strategy.
I’m currently working on my strategy using the insurance so I can get assistance if or when I need the service. The younger and more healthy a person is, the more likely it will be more affordable, and attainable.
So You Think You Want to Retire?
The time has come. In fact, it’s probably overdue.
Rick and Will are seasoned and highly capable. We’ve been navigating through the toughest and most challenging conditions we’ve faced in several decades, so they are battle-tested and proven.
They’re smarter than I am, for sure. They are committed to our values and care for our clients as I do. We are all different, make no mistake, but we share the love of what we do and a commitment to do our very best for our client family. The time is right for me to turn the reins over to guys who I admire and trust. They will continue to do well for our clients. My years have been challenging, rewarding, fun, and frustrating, but mostly a pleasure. My clients and friends have made it so.
So let me tell you the short version of the decision. If you’ve read the other little posts you know I have come from “invincible” to vulnerable. I can tell you that I have shed some tears over this. I’m glad I did. Not just once, but several times as I have thought about not going to Franklin Square every day. My interactions with clients will now be primarily as friends as I pass the baton. I regret that I won’t be needed. That’s just being honest; vanity stood in my way for a while. I really won’t be needed because we have a business culture that is intact with people who are committed to continuing it.
All my client friends will be well-served. I’ve decided everything will be A-OK. I WILL be needed by Brenda, and I hope by my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. That salves the sting. That’s a higher calling!
I’ll have some parting thoughts next time.