What I Learned From My Mother’s Death

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I lost my mother to cancer when I was 19.  Obviously, ‘hard’ is an understatement. The thought of not being able to see, talk, cry or hug her made me almost lose my sanity.  But, the most difficult part of that moment in the history of my life was the threat of not having enough to sustain my needs and the needs of my four other siblings younger than me.  We were not prepared at all. The paramount lesson I learned from her untimely death of age 43 is to be always ready. Yes. No sugarcoating – be READY.

I was in my third year as a nursing student when it happened.  My sister next to me had just graduated high school, then one a freshman high school and our youngest ages eight and seven.  Yes, we were five in the family. My father back then when it happened just left the Philippines to work as an OFW without assurance of a job.  He had to return home shortly after the news of my mother’s demise, leaving him jobless. My parents didn’t have any savings, investments or business.  I was blessed to be sponsored a nursing education by my uncle at that time. However, I thought, how was I to ensure my sibling’s needs are met? There were so many plot twists to that story right there, but I’m pretty sure, you get the picture more or less.  Our family was not just prepared at all.

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In hindsight, what could have economically prepared our family from a loss of a parent were one, an emergency buffer fund.  An emergency fund is money amounting to 3 months’ worth of your monthly expense if you’re employed, or 6 months’ worth if you are a business owner.  Three to six months, on average, would have been the time where a person can apply and be hired for a job. An emergency fund would have been activated or used as soon as the realization of a loss of income occurred.

Another, is income protection through a life insurance policy.  In financial planning, we call it risk management. We don’t really have to believe in life insurance (because it’s no religion).  It is passing the risk of losing income from your shoulders to a company or organization who can afford it. It’s that simple. A mere P400.00 monthly premium back in 2004 would have given us, the beneficiaries a P100,000.00 to P200,000.00.  Yes, it’s cheaper than you thought. Most of us think that a P1M insurance benefit costs P1M. No it doesn’t. The benefit claim of p100,000.00 could have gone a long long way for us. It could have been our six months’ worth of electricity or water bill, food, groceries, or tuition fees.  

Most families suffer the loss of their loved one, not only physically, most importantly economically.  This sounds way too familiar, especially for Filipino families. We cry in anguish at the grave of our breadwinners, not only because we can’t be with them anymore, but of the loss of their economical value to the family.  To make matters worse, most families bury themselves in a pile of debt just to keep treatments for a terminally ill breadwinner. Leaving the financial burden- so called debt- to the family who continues to need financial support and sustenance.  

Truly, the cost of losing my mother was way too much for us.  We needed to go through the ordeal without her and without money in our pockets.  Luckily, with the wisdom God has given me as a financial planner, my family doesn’t have to go through that predicament anymore.  Your family doesn’t have to go through that too.  

Talk to a trusted financial planner about getting life insurance.  As a registered financial planner myself, the ideal computation for a life insurance coverage most experts believe is ten times your annual income.  You can be rather flexible with your approach and start with not more than 10% of your monthly income for your monthly premiums or contribution. You can also choose from a variety of insurance products from term, whole life or investment linked (VULs).  

Only I warn you about procrastinating.  Remember, the best time to start preparing is ‘Yesterday’.  Premiums get more expensive each year. Plus insurance companies accept applications according to your insurability measured by three factors- age, health, and financial capacity.  There are those who would die to buy an insurance policy, only they no longer can because they are either old, unhealthy or premiums are way too expensive because of their age.

Ample preparation is king in dealing with the three D’s of life – death, disability and disease. There is no other way.  Had my mother prepared for even p400.00 stashed away from their monthly income, I would have shared a different story.  Your advanced decision pays so much more than you can ever think or imagine. Your family depends on it.  Your children or the people under your care depends on it.  I hope that this post helped you. It can potentially save lives, like it could have ours.


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