I am probably on the worrier side of things. I generally follow the motto of plan for the worst but hope for the best. For me, I will think about what we’re going to do and anticipate all necessary things I can have planned to make sure everything goes smoothly. I can remember this winter watching this video about a 70-car pileup in Iowa. The people were stranded for hours in the SNOW! I literally texted my husband and told him that we immediately needed to put together an emergency kit in the car because I was so stressed thinking about what I would do in that situation if it had happened to me and my daughter Vella.
Preparing for the worst is not pleasant, but as parents, we often have to think about the tough stuff—we have to plan for bad situations; plan for the worst and hope for the best. So I wanted to pass along some of the ways that I plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Sharing financial information with my husband
We often compartmentalize tasks around the house. I do a lot of the house work and Colin does majority of the yard work. I take care of cooking and Colin is a master griller (seriously—come over when he makes brisket, I’m drooling just thinking about it). Often when I talk to women about something related to investments or retirement they quickly push me off and say something along the lines of “I have no idea about that, my husband takes care of the finances.” This statement alone stresses me out!
You need to get on the same page with finances (even if you have separate bank accounts). Make sure you know the answer to these questions (and probably more!):
- Where is your money? Which bank or credit union?
- How much money do you have in these accounts?
- What are your financial institution passwords?
- Do you have investments? What companies are you invested in, or who do you manage your investments through?
- What does your (and your spouse’s) retirement account look like?
Understanding where your finances come from will set you up for success in the long run. I know these things are so complicated, and it’s easy to shy away from them. However, think about what would happen if your husband was no long able to make finance decisions or communicate this information with you. How would you take care of yourself and your family? I can only imagine the stress that I would feel trying to figure out how to pay my mortgage while I’m grieving.
Planned for the future of our child(ren)
Colin and I recently went to Cuba (one of the most amazing experiences). This was the first international trip for us with a child. We had to take some different steps to prepare. We had to figure out who was going to watch Vella and Rodgers (the dog). Beyond that, we also made sure we took care of our wills, power of attorney, and financial power of attorney (we went to Elder Law of Omaha and met with my friend Samantha).
The process is difficult. You’re trying to decide who is going to make the best decisions for you and your family if you’re not around. However, make sure these documents are in place to take care of the “what ifs.” It can be a somber experience, but I can honestly say that I feel more comfortable knowing that my wishes regarding myself, my kids, my money, and my healthcare are clear.
It’s tough to plan for the unexpected. Especially when that planning doesn’t involve thinking about how I’d spend millions of dollars from a trust fund that a long lost relative set up for me. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Do yourself and your family a favor and start putting together a plan—it’ll give you peace of mind.