7 Ways To Protect Your Family From Life’s Uncertainties

· 9 min read
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Table of Contents
1. Establish an Emergency Fund
2. Get Life Insurance Coverage
3. Get Homeowners Insurance
4. Prioritize Health Insurance
5. Family Therapy and Individual Counseling
6. Be Responsible for Debt
7. Learn About Genetic Health Risks

The everyday decisions that you make today, shape the future well-being of your family. There are many choices you can make that help protect your family from life’s uncertainties. From educating yourself on genetic health risks to getting proper insurance for your home, much can be done to protect your family now and in the future.

We work hard and invest our earnings so that we can leave a legacy for our loved ones. However, life happens and things don’t always go as planned. Unexpected expenses crop up, may it be in the form of a medical emergency, death of a family member, natural disaster, lost employment, or even financial investments not panning out as expected.

It’s not enough to dream of a good future. You also have to make sure that you have a safety net that helps keep you prepared for life’s uncertainties, so that your dreams can become a reality. Life can drastically change overnight, because there are many things that we cannot predict or control. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you are prepared for any curveballs that life throws your way, so you can protect your family. The security of your family is a top priority, especially if you’re the breadwinner or one of the breadwinners of the family.

Having concrete plans in place to protect your family will make sure your loved ones are protected against the financial impact and emotional trauma caused by a health crisis, household fire, or sudden death. No one will ever know what tomorrow brings, so it’s essential to prepare today.

Below are 7 smart ways you can protect your family from life’s uncertainties.

1. Establish an Emergency Fund

Don’t allow life’s unwelcome surprises to catch you off guard financially. Whether it’s a broken-down car, damage to your home, a broken arm, or sudden unemployment, you have to make sure you have the funds to cover your daily expenses in case of an emergency or crisis. It would help to save up at least 6 months of your living expenses as a safety net or emergency fund. You should have that amount in an accessible account, so you’ll have a financial safety net should the need arise.

For example, in case you lose your job, you’ll have enough to cover your mortgage, utilities, food, etc for about 6 months (ideally) with an emergency fund. The money will give you ample time to get back on your feet. With an emergency fund, you don’t have to take out high-interest loans that could set your finances back even further. In your hour of need, you have funds to fall back on, which is a sign of financial wellness. Bear in mind that these funds should only be touched in an emergency.

2. Get Life Insurance Coverage

If you are the primary breadwinner, your family relies on your salary to survive. It would be very challenging for your family members to carry on without a steady flow of income if you suddenly died with no life insurance. It would therefore be helpful to get life insurance that covers your family expenses for several years after your death. The insurance payout compensates for the lost income, while also giving your family a chance to grieve, recover, find their footing, and adjust to life without you, without having to worry about money.

Moreover, most life insurance payouts are not subject to income tax and estate taxes. Hence, there’s a smooth transfer of wealth to your heirs. Your family can use the money immediately to cover the costs of death like expensive mortuary fees and funeral expenses. The payout could also assist your family in paying for any debts like a mortgage, car loans, or business loans to save themselves from any financial burdens you may leave behind.

Below is some general information about how life insurance can protect your family, and some basics regarding what life insurance is all about.

A Group Policy Might Be Insufficient

If you have life insurance through your work, known as a group policy, it provides perks since there’s no underwriting and much lower monthly fees. However, most group life insurance policies don’t provide sufficient coverage for your family. In most cases, you also can’t take the policy when you leave your job. For these reasons, an individual life insurance policy offers more flexibility, allowing you to protect your family with sufficient coverage for their future needs.

Coverage for a Stay-at-Home Spouse

Furthermore, even spouses who stay at home and care for children also need life insurance. Although their coverage may not be as large as the primary breadwinner, having protection is essential to sound financial planning. Insurance payout could defray potential funeral costs. More importantly, the amount on the policy must be able to cover future childcare costs, which are exorbitant these days.

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Life Insurance for the Young and Healthy

Young and healthy people with no dependents could also benefit from securing an individual life insurance policy. For starters, the younger you are, the cheaper your life insurance policy costs. It’s also easier to get approved because younger people are generally healthy with no serious health complications on their medical records

Young professionals can get life insurance for a good rate, and helps protect your parents from the burden if something happens to you. If you’re a healthy young professional with no life insurance, your parents might have the burden of settling student loans if you pass away, paying off credit card balances, and paying for funeral costs. These expenses could be a burden on your parents and siblings. Life insurance could help with these financial burdens.

Furthermore, you don’t know what the future holds. You may eventually build a family that needs financial protection. It’s better to get life insurance when you’re young and able to get it easily, than try to get it in the future when you’re riddled with health complications. The latter makes it difficult and expensive to get life insurance coverage at a time when you need it the most.

Declare Health Issue to Avoid Denied Claims

Notably, you must follow all the necessary underwriting procedures to file a successful claim. In general, those with cancer, complex congenital defects like hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and other terminal illnesses are not eligible for life insurance coverage. If you have any pre-existing conditions such as mental illness, diabetes, hypertension, or asthma, you have to declare it when you make the life insurance application.

Those with certain medical conditions are not automatically denied. Typically, your life insurance application will come with your doctor’s reports stating that your condition is under control. Those who have underlying health issues could still get approval with rated premiums or more expensive insurance costs. People who do not declare their proper health status at the time of insurance application could be denied when they make claims.

Insurance claims could also be denied due to suicide. If this is not included in the insurable peril at the time the policy was enforced, then insurance may not cover it. Some policies also have special provisions that limit the payment of benefits after a certain age. Make sure you read the full terms and conditions to know the specific stipulations and benefits you are receiving. In other words, when it comes to life insurance, you should read the fine print.

3. Get Homeowners Insurance

Protect what you painstakingly built and ensure that uncertainties don’t take away what you worked for. Anything can happen to your house at any time, whether it’s a natural disaster like a broken roof from a hurricane or flooding, fire from a gas leak, termite damage, vandalism, or even burglary.

In some mortgages, you can’t secure the loan without homeowners insurance protection. This covers the cost of repairs or replacements if something unfortunate happens to your home or belongings. A standard policy covers hail, wind, fire, explosions, smoke damage, theft, and vandalism. For more comprehensive coverage, some homeowners insurance could even cover car theft, car vandalism, and even cover your hotel accommodations while your house is being rebuilt.

4. Prioritize Health Insurance

The timeless adage, Health is wealth may sound like a cliche, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your health is directly tied to your income. If you cannot work, you don’t get paid. By the same token, getting sick means you must have funds to pay for hospital expenses and medications. The savings and assets you built can be wiped out if you or a family member gets sick.

That’s why it’s important to have comprehensive health insurance (for all family members) to cover minor to critical illnesses. This could include doctors’ fees, room and board at a hospital or mental institution, diagnostic testing, expensive medications, and more. Some health insurance policies even come with a hospital income benefit, which provides a certain amount per day while you are confined in the hospital.

Moreover, having an accident insurance rider as well as disability benefits in your insurance is essential. If an accident renders you immobile, your policy could provide a lump sum or several payouts since you can no longer earn an income due to disability.

Disability insurance, when needed, saves families from financial peril. If you want to protect your family, you have to prepare for the possibility of an unexpected disability.

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5. Family Therapy and Individual Counseling

Contrary to popular belief, therapy and counseling is not just for those with mental illness. In fact, studies show that therapy is for everyone, because one of its primary goals is to alleviate stress and help people manage their own emotional wellness. This includes learning how to self-regulate when you’re feeling dysregulated due to unexpected life stressors. Unfortunately, there are many stimuli in life and things beyond your control that could elicit unexpected stress.

Therapy is vital in planning for these uncertainties because it teaches you coping skills that could get you through tough times. Whether it’s the sudden death of a loved one, anxiety about your teenage kids’ rebellion, or frustration in not getting your promotion, therapy is an ally that could help you manage negative emotions. Counselors are trained and educated to help you foster and strengthen your coping skills so you can remain resilient and strong amid adversity.

It’s not uncommon to get family therapy as a group, mother-and-daughter therapy, father-and-son therapy, and other combinations of group sessions in addition to regular individual counseling sessions for each family member.

If you want to protect your family, throw counseling sessions in the mix, since this helps protect the mental health of each family member.

6. Be Responsible for Debt

Sometimes, debt is necessary such as a student loans for education, a mortgage for shelter, a car loan for the daily commute, or a business loan for your startup business. Loans help with short-term and long-term financial goals. The key to successful debt management is paying each month, and paying on time. Don’t let your savings go to compounded interest payments.

When unforeseen events happen, one of the things that take a hit is your finances. Thus, staying fiscally responsible and prioritizing debt payments could help you manage your budget when you’re in a financial crunch. Use debt responsibly and avoid high-interest debt like high credit card debts or unsecured personal loans at all costs.

Paying off your debt and building your business so that you’re not taking on more debt, is a great way to protect your family.

7. Learn About Genetic Health Risks

Finally, you can also protect your family by getting informed about any genetic health risks that run in your family. Knowledge is power, so taking a DNA test like CircleDNA can give you peace of mind. One of the reports included in this at-home DNA testing kit is your health and disease risk. For example, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or heart disease could run in some families. If you find out through your CircleDNA test that you have a higher risk of these diseases, you could take advantage of early intervention measures such as mammograms, colonoscopy, or more regular heart health checks.

Understanding genetic health risks via a DNA test from CircleDNA helps you take proactive, preventative measures for yourself and your family. This gives you ample time to nip preventable health issues in the bud instead of facing complications that are more expensive, more painful, and a lot harder to treat because you did not take those preventative measures.

By the same token, if you’re thinking of starting a family, you could get crucial DNA insights from a CircleDNA test. You and your partner could potentially both be carriers of genetic mutations that you could pass to your children. If, for example, you find out that you’re at risk of passing down Huntington’s Disease, you could opt for IVF to do embryonic screening or pre-implantation genetic testing to make sure your future child is healthy. Genetic testing can help you address life’s uncertainties, since concrete data could help you foresee and plan accordingly, giving you the best guidance to secure your family’s future.

This means that DNA tests could help you safeguard your family from preventable diseases.


References

1.Pharmacist Life Insurance: It Pays to Shop Around for Term Life Coverage (Travis Hornsby, CFA, CFP®) https://www.studentloanplanner.com/term-life-insurance-pharmacist/

2. STRESS AND HEALTH: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants (Neil Schneiderman, Gail Ironson, and  Scott D. Siegel) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/