09/25/2017 17:00 EDT | Updated 09/25/2017 17:00 EDT

Courageous Conversations

What if I told you that we usually reach adulthood without a realistic sense of our family's finances and are not having the necessary 'courageous conversations' about money because information-based money discussions are 'off limits'.

September is Life Insurance Awareness month and yes, you could stop reading this right now, but I hope you will not and that you will read on. I am on a mission to help people to get the conversations started to get their personal and financial lives in order while they can.

Think about this for a moment, how prepared would you be for some of the harsher realities of life such as a critical or terminal illness, disability or worse the sudden death of a loved one?

At this point you might be thinking, why are these important conversations to have and why should I care?

What if I told you that?

  • If the primary wage earner in Canada were to die, 30% of families with dependent children admit they will have immediate trouble meeting everyday living expenses *
  • 27% say they would only be able to cover expenses for a few months *
  • 30% of Canadian households, 3.9 million, state they "don't have enough life insurance" *
  • Only 44% of all US households have individual life insurance *
  • 30% of US households (35 million) have no insurance protection at all *
  • An estimated 3.8 M (13.7%) of adult Canadians reported being limited in their daily activities due to a disability in 2012
  • Over 37 million Americans are classified as disabled; about 12% of the total population
  • Over 40% of Canadians do not have a will **
  • 55% of all adult Americans do not have a will ***

Would these stats make you stop and pay attention?

I became a widow in sixty seconds when my 39-year-old husband was killed in a tragic accident. My second husband became a widower when his wife died of cancer only nine months after being diagnosed. My daughter lost her father at the age of 12 and has now spent over half of her life without him.

Today my goal in life is to dispel the myth, "it won't happen to me, it might happen to you but it won't happen to me". I am on a journey to share our real life experiences and my extensive financial services knowledge with the world.

Here are at least nine tips to help you today, to put yourself in control of your life both personally and financially.

  • Meet with a financial advisor and review your situation to determine the appropriate plan(s) you need to put in place for you and your family
  • Make sure you have the appropriate types and amount(s) of insurance. Think about things such as (but not limited to):
    • If you have a stay at home spouse/partner make sure you have sufficient coverage on their life
    • Make sure you have coverage in the event of a critical illness or disability so the household/monthly/business bills will continue to be covered
    • Look into long term care insurance to cover you in the event you are not able to take care of your own daily living habits
  • If you already have a financial plan, when was the last time you met with your advisor for a full review to make sure everything is relevant to your situation today
  • Make sure all of your beneficiary designations are current and up-to-date on all of your insurance policies, RRSP's, group insurance plans, etc.
  • Meet with a lawyer to get your wills drawn up. This is not the place for a Do It Yourself fix
  • If you already have a will in place, is it up to date? Things have a way of changing over time so you need to review to make sure your wishes are still covered and current

This life is all we have and there is only one for each of us. I encourage you to take the time this month to sit down and have the courageous conversations with those you love, while you can, and put the necessary safety net in place to take care of yourself and your loved one's futures before anything happens.

To learn more tips and strategies to help you take control of your family's personal and financial future please visit Jane Blaufus to order my best-selling book, WITH THE [STROKE] OF A PEN®, Claim your life. Follow me on Twitter and join the Claim Your Life Community on Facebook.

*(LIMRA) **(Canadian Bar Association) ***(Harris Interactive ®)