As most of you know, my friend, Bob is in the last stages of his life. He is very young (53) and he has regrets. When I spoke to him last night, I realized that I never want another one of my friends to go through what they are having to deal with. So as all of you are my friends, this is what I have to say.
Bob had already retired from the military, serving his country proudly, and retiring as a Command Sgt. Major. He started a new profession a couple of years ago.
His regret is he and his wife thought that there would be plenty of time to do fun things when they got older. They, like us, wanted to travel without having to move to the new location. Are you the type that says we will have fun later?They figured that in another twenty years they could cruise, and travel, and spend time on the beach. Have hobbies they enjoyed...... well you get the idea.
When they bought their home, it was to be their last, but because they had excellent insurance, they decided not to get the mortgage insurance that would have paid off the house, in case of death of one of them.
Two weeks before he was given a death notice, he because dissatisfied with his life insurance, so he cancelled it, and went with a policy at work, but never bothered to read the fine print.
His wife has never worked outside the home. Well, she did work for about 6 weeks more than 35 years ago. She never thought she would ever have to work, because once Bob retired again, they could just live out their life on his double retirement.
She also thought that if something should happen to Bob, she could still collect his retirement from the Army.
After they found out that Bob was going to die, they thought she could collect his social security.
Now most of you have already seen things I have listed, and said I knew that, but there might be others who don't know, so this is why I want to get the word out to you ,as my friends.
They will never ever be able to travel on those much awaited vacations. He most likely will never get in a car, much less travel.
The insurance he bought, only pays out if you die at work.
Military retirement payments stop when the service member dies.
You can't collect SS until you reach the age of 65, which she is a good 10 years away.
Bottom line is they were not ready. They never wanted to think about dieing, and surely it wouldn't happen, if you don't think about it.
I think his wife will be fine, because she has so many, who will be by her side, but Bob's fear is not of dieing, but of what will happen to his wife when he is gone.
I can relate to this Luanne. At the start of last summer, I thought I was 10 feet tall and bullet proof. I made all this money and I thought I should work all I can now because I might not be able to in the future. I wanted a retirement of travel and bliss.
Then that fateful night in July that tried its best to take my life. It did, in a strange way. I no longer can work all the time and make the money I did. I cannot move physically as I did back then. I don't know if I will be able to work like I did because the doctors are saying that I am not ready.
I thank God that I do have insurance and that I have placed investments so that the insurance and investments will pay handsomely to my estate. I don't have a wife, I don't have a mortgage, I have no credit card debt.
Am I ready? I believe I am, thank you for asking.
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Luanne........I can also relate to your question........2 years ago when Larry was told he has Myasthenia Gravis we decieded that it was time to enjoy.......as soon as Larry was well enuff to do things again we have been.......we are living life to the fullest......not waiting to retire......we'll worry about that later.......
I hope everyone thinks about this & does something.......
I don't believe anyone is ever "ready"... and much more so in the case of people dying too young. Even if you're financial house is in order, there's no way to be emotionally prepared.
One truly can't "live each day like it's your last" because there are real issues about the future, if not for yourself, then for your family.
One can't also go to the other extreme and do little else but work and save and plan for "your future happiness" because in cases like your friends...you never know when your future is going to end.
The trick, of course, is to find a balance in your life, where you work hard and play hard and enjoy life.
Sadly, in the end there's really nothing that prepares us for death, or the death of a loved one, particularly when that life ends well before it should.
At that point some folks rely on their religion, some folks rely on their families and friends to get them through. If you don't have some form of support system then all the financial planning possible isn't going to get you through. because while you need money for food and shelter, I think the key ingredient that most human beings run on is emotion.
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I certainly can relate. My fater just passed away from Alzheimer's at the tender age of 57. He was diagnosed when he was 53. He did have everything in order for my mom as he took less of his pension now so my mom can receive it until she passes. He made it so she had no worries except to plan his arrangements. He retired and within a year, he was diagnosed. He was in the Air Force and got to travel and see lots of great places with my Mother. That is why I promised my self that during my 20's I wanted to travel and I got my degree so I could always take care of myself. I am going on my 6th cruise and have my 7th booked. With all of this, life is too short and still planning for the future is still crucial, but you still have to live life for today. As my dad always told me:
The only guarantee in life is that we are all going to die at some point. So don't take life for granted.
We are in the process of updating every thing right now. Checking on all our insurance policies my husbands pensions and will soon make an appt. with an attorney to get legal paperwork in order - just in case. We are 44 and 47. Just seems the right time to make sure we haven't forgotten something important.
Also need to rerun the retirement numbers. We think we have the right amount between his two pensions, his 401k, my retirement money and, not really figuring in the SS. If we need to make any adjustments we will have somewhere between 10 and 15 years after we have the kids out of college to make adjustments, and make sure our house has all the updates and major renovations done.
Of course, my husband is in a high risk job, and may not come home at the end of any given day...so who knows.
I will feel better after we have got everything rechecked, but not dwelling on it too much.
Luanne, thanks for that thought provoking post and it does cause one to stop and think.
Kuki your post I think says alot in the sense of financial preparation is one thing but the emotional support is another major issue.
I thought about this alot before moving from Illinois to Wisconsin (very recently). Yes, I had friends in Illinois but being in a big metropolitan area I felt to get established is a small town, being alone I would be able to get more help if needed.
Financially I consider myself fortunate having worked for a foreign company that provides life insurance at no cost to me, and the amount will never drop below a certain amount as I get older.
The travel issue I've been aware of as my parents always said they would do some things they never did. When I reached my middle 30's I said I am not waiting to travel. I had a friend I traveled with that passed away at 53 and she was so happy we had taken cruises and land trips. I think of Ginny often and her last words, don't stop cruising and don't be sad for me, I'm glad for the life I had.
That is a sad case Luanne. I am also retired from the service. Although I married Marj well after my retirement, she will recieve 55% of my pension monthly if I predecease her because I enrolled in the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) when we married. Many retirees are shortsighted and do not want to pay the premium for this coverage. Many reason that they are young and healthy. so why pay? I also have a good amount of life insurance. Marj, of course, is also beneficiary for all of the cash that has built up in my government civilian version of the 401K retirement plan. Should I pass, Marj won't be rich but she will not be left destitute.
We are doing our traveling in the present. We want to have the major "must sees" ticked off our list, while we are healthy.
My prayers are with your friends.
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This is a question that DH and I have thought about a lot. He is an accountant and financial planner so that side has always been taken care of. But we did put off a lot of travel and other fun things for "after we get the kids settled" and "after I retire" etc. Well, first his parents both died within a week of each other and then, a short while later, we were both diagnosed with cancer in the same month. Changes your outlook in a hurry!
Even though we are the primary support system for my Mom, we have started travelling and going to all the events we always thought sounded fun but we were too "busy" to go to. Right now we are scheduled for a land tour to the Biltmore in early Dec., 10 days after we get back we are off to NOLA for a New Years barge cruise with both our kids and spouses, then an Alaska cruise in June, and another riverbarge cruise on the Ohio next October. If we want to do it, we do.
You can't spend your life worrying about dying, but it's no good pretending you never will!