Two weeks ago, my husband passed away after a valiant 3 week battle to recover from cardiac arrest. I am 34 years old, and I am now a single mom of three beautiful children. Today I am the sole provider, working for a start-up by the name of Ascend.
The vision of Ascend is to help women achieve financial greatness. You know this. For years now, we have been loud mouth advocates of financial literacy and financial empowerment into the MK community. You’ve heard us proclaim, “A Man is Not a Financial Plan!” You’ve attended our classes where we’ve called you to bold action to be involved in the finances of your family and to take personal responsibility for creating a living wage (running a profit centered business), and you’ve walked by our booth at Seminar every year as we’ve boldly asked, “Are you profitable? Do you want to be?”
Maybe you are among the 20,000+ who read our newsletter every month and think you always have tomorrow to get your financial house in order… let me tell you, I am living proof that you only have today, and that financial planning isn’t hokey or a man’s job.
Although LeAnne and I are best friends, we sat down as financial-planner-and-client the week before my husband passed. I had one question, “Are the kids and I really going to be ok, financially?” This was a surreal experience for both of us, but a healthy and important one. The reassuring part was that my husband and I did plan, and we did use Ascend Live religiously; thru the years, I remained involved and aware of what was happening in our finances, our investments, our medical benefits, our life insurance, our car loans, and our credit reports. Much like you, my life, the pull of the job, and my children gave me plenty of reason to abdicate personal responsibility in the nitty-gritty details of our financial life. But I work at Ascend, and we insist that our staff practices what we preach, even when life gets crazy. Let me tell you, the financial disciplines we all hear LeAnne teaching are the disciplines that made a difference in moments that matter. I’m pleased to share that worrying about money was the last thing on my mind as I co-labored with my husband in ICU for three weeks.
Our financial planning didn’t leave me and the kids rolling in the dough, but we will be fine. We will be able to stay in our house and maintain a very similar lifestyle; to say the least, this is an enormous blessing!
Nobody ever thinks that bad stuff will happen to them— none of us considers, “What if the car accident I get in doesn’t kill me, but makes it impossible for me to work for the rest of my life?” Few think the thought, “What if mom has Alzheimer’s, and in order to care for her we will be forced to use retirement accounts and home equity to pay for her care?” In addition to my own situation, these are two real stories of “life” happening to some of our MK clients that LeAnne is working with as a financial planner.
With financial markets and stocks tumbling, pervasive fear given recent economics, with what life potentially has to offer or take away from us—no matter what the future brings, we have two choices: 1. We can plan objectively, and actively look for potential threats, and decimate them. 2. We can let life happen to us and pick up the pieces later.
To not have a plan for what will happen to our livelihood if the car accident we get in doesn’t kill us
To not have a have a will in written and put enforce by a legal professional
To not confirm with a professional that the amount and type of life insurance we carry is sufficient
To assume the next generation will be able to afford to care for us in our old age
To blindly save in a 401k, or not save at all, and assume that we will have more than enough to retire on
To assume that the benefits we have at work will be there forever
To buy the max of employer’s disability and/or life insurance and think it’s enough
To pretend that we are immune, that we will be the exception, or that we’ll just figure it out when life happens…
Is simply irresponsible.
My situation hits close to home for all of us on the Ascend Team. With all my heart I wish I could speak to each of you individually, and counter every excuse we allow ourselves (and each other) about why we’ve waited or didn’t implement financial planning and financial systems into our lives and businesses. The reality is we can’t fix things after the fact. We can’t predict what will happen to us, but we can plan.
I am asking you to please sit down with someone—a well qualified financial planner that you trust (like LeAnne) who will help ask you the right-hard questions instead of allowing the wrong-easy answers to prevail in the unknown details. Take some time soon to discuss and formulate what exactly you (or your family) would do if your life doesn’t go as planned.
Know that I care about you immensely and wish for you nothing but prosperity and many years of joy with your family. It is this joy that I hope to help you preserve by writing this letter.
My love to you all,