Some Harsh Realities

11 12 2008

Death, cancer, diabilities of all kinds, unemployment etc don’t often give a warning that they are about to happen.  Sometimes if we are extremely in tune to our lives we can often sense a warning.  I know that I’ve had many such times.  Even so–I’ve missed some real warnings in my life.  It is not good to be naive about the harsh realities of life.  Dave Ramsey likes to talk about how Murphy’s law lives in our guest bedroom.  In other words, if we don’t do some preparing about our lives–we are often left with very deep problem solving in times of real crisis.

Sandy’s ( my oldest daughter) father-in-law died this past weekend.  Sandy and her husband, Rob, were in Memphis for a marathon.  They received the call around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  They had plans to enjoy a leisurely morning before heading home.  Instead, they had to gather their belongings fast and get on the road.  Sandy’s husband is his father’s power of attorney and he had to get things moving fast.  Later that day–I talked with Sandy and she told me that the funeral would cost about $12,000.  Rob’s dad had plenty of insurance and that was not a worry.  Through Sandy , I’ve learned that all wills are probated and that  the death is published in the paper for all creditors to see.  The creditors get their money before any is dispersed to the family.  Rob senior’s situation is not going to be an easy one because there are five grown children who want their share of the estate.  Rob junior is going to have a huge job to deal with.   Rob senior’s death struck another one of those “planning nerves” in my body.  I thought that all of our life insurance policies were in our lock box.  However, when I opened our box up–I was shocked to learn that they were not in the box.  I had to go searching for them.  I did finally find them and placed them in our lock bos.  Our wills were in our lock box.  Jim and I took a look at them and although they are adequate–they are not the best.  Thus, sometime soon–we will work on updating our wills.

Death is costly not only in the painful emotions that those who are left behind feel but it is also just plain earthly wise costly.  Life insurance  should be bought when one is young.  That is when it is the least expensive.  The more health problems one has–the more costly will be the policy.  Jim and I locked into our main policy when we were still fairly young.  Then when I was 48–I bought another small policy for myself.  Because I was beginning to have health problems–I could only aford a $25,000 policy.  I’m thankful that we have life insurance.  I would encourage all young people to get busy and purchase life insurance. 

Cancer is another issue.  There are some financial advisors who teach that cancer insurance is a waste of money.  They say that if one is coverd by health insurance –then no other insurance is necessary.  However, health insurance companies these days are making it harder for all of us. For instasnce,   this past year–for the first time in 15 years we had what is called a “bridge” to complete.  In other words, the company gave us the first $2.000.00 dollars then we had to pay the next $2,000.00 before the 80/20 percent kicked in.  We had chosen the inbetween plan.  However, the top plan was not much better.  This coming year we chose the lowest plan because Jim is on disability pay.  We won’t have to pay any of the premiums like we did with the inbetween plan. But this year the insurance will only pay the first $ 1000.00 then we will have a bridge of $4000.00 to pay before the 80/20 percent kicks in.  The insurance companies do this so people won’t go the doctor’s for minor complaints.  And even though we have benefited greatly through having medical insurance–we pay the equivalent to a car payment in medical bills each month.

So getting back to cancer–the standard health insurance is not going to pay much up front.  The benefit is not seen until one has paid a great deal out of one’s pocket.  With my cancer insurance–I got a check for just being diagnosed with cancer.  They also paid a part of my hospital stay when I had my masectomy.  Lastly, they have paid a good portion of my monthly medicine.  I would never have been able to afford my medicine with out my cancer insurance.  Our policy which we started at my husband’s workplace has only cost us $25.00 a month.  We were able to take it with us even though Jim will never go back to work.  The price did not go up –it is locked in at $25.00 a month.  So if your compnay offers you a cancer policy and ours was from Aflac–grab the opportunity. 

My last piece of advice would be to be faithful to saving money.  When Jim had to be at Vanderbilt for two weeks–I was able to put a check from my money market into my primary bank.  Even though Jim was still getting paid–the extra money was a help.  I didn’t want our daughter, Vera, to be in a lurch as she was paying our bills.  We haven’t always been people who saved money.  We got a late start in our lives but late is better than never.  So get started on some kind of savings plan.

Now I realize that I have people from different parts of the world who read my blog.  Many live in the UK where all medical bills are paid.  My advice  on medical insurance won’t mean much to my UK friends but my advice on savings and life insurance is for all people. 

We have watched Rob senior be in and out of the hospital for a decade now.  He had many lung and heart problems.  However, he has always been able to get back to work.  In fact, he was dressing for work on Sunday morning and just died instantly.  Death, cancer and other kinds of  illness can take any of us by surprise.  So get a will, some life insurance, start a savings account and buy some cancer insurance.  Be prepared.

God bless each of you!




One response

13 12 2008

There is nothing like the voice of experience to pass along great wisdom. I am hopeful that I will be able to follow it, but cancer left us devastated and I don’t know if I can live long enough to get things “in order”. So, I will have to do the best that I can.

I found that, at my age, it is better to pre-pay funeral arrangements at the establishment because of the devaluation of the dollar. If I pay the plan in full before my death, the funeral home is “locked” into doing my plan in spite of any increase in costs…

As far as medical insurance, I have to work a year at my present company to become eligible. I imagine that the insurance coverage also “stinks”, so after an adequate time at this company, I will be shopping for employment that will offer this kind of benefit…How ironic; I work in healthcare and that particular benefit is lacking. Sorry to say that this isn’t unusual…

Your husband’s company is very generous and you all are fortunate. In many respects, if this was going to happen in your life, this was the best time especially with the economic “down turn”…

All my best to you and Jim,

Your friend,

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