Dad Dies. Mom sets up Gofundme. I’m ticked at Dad everytime I see this happen. Here’s Why.
This all-too-common occurrence brings out two emotions in me. Deep sadness for the loss of a person with a spouse and kids grieving. And frustration and anger because this Dad did not protect his family. There are a few very simple and very inexpensive things Dads must do in case they die. Because unexpected deaths do happen. Freak aneurisms happen, random crimes happen, car accidents happen.
I’m tired of seeing families left behind grieving AND broke.
It’s not everyone else job to pitch in and financially provide for your family that you left in a bad spot. It is kind for people to do that and I am all for kindness. But aside from a few that go viral this is not a viable way to take care of your family. Lets learn from these mistakes and live a life proud that we can take care of our kin even in death. In fact not only are you providing you are establishing your legacy.
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU ARE A FATHER:
Term Life Insurance:
It's cheap. It's effective. It takes the pressure off your spouse and provides for your family in your death. This is not lottery winning.
This is income replacement.
Your wife will take this to a financial advisor and they will invest this money so it kicks out interest to your family forever. The amount of your life insurance needs to be a minimum of 10x your income. The investment strategy is important but that’s for another article! Never ever buy whole life or cash value insurance.
For the record. Mom should have life insurance too. Even stay-at-home moms. You need to compensate for her home value to pay someone to replace the things she did. Nanny, housekeeper, shopper, cook, tutor, etc. She has real economic value and without her, you have some big checks to write.
Budget with your spouse:
This is a team effort guys. Sit down together with a piece of paper. Make it an excel doc if you want to get fancy. Income is at the top. Followed by expenses. Create categories. Order them from the most important to the least important. The number at the very bottom should be your profit. Try and make that number as big as possible every single month. Save that money and stack up cash. Don’t spend that pile of cash!!
While mom and dad budget together in most relationships one person is actually doing the bill paying and managing the household. The other spouse needs to know where everything is kept. Where insurance policies are. What bills are on auto-draft and which need to be paid by check? One person might do all the work but the other person needs to know how to jump in if needed.
Have an Emergency Fund.
Whether it is a flat tire, engine replacement, central air replacement, roof replacement, or a casket and funeral. Cash is needed for the unexpected. Once you have enough cash to cover around 6 months of expenses you can stop building the emergency fund and start investing for the future. Keep that cash in the bank. Never touch it….you can justify everything as an emergency so have the discipline to never touch it unless you absolutely have to.
This way if you get laid off you can probably live for a year without a single paycheck…..assuming you can cut back your lifestyle significantly during that crisis. Also, it allows your family to pay for the funeral and still live comfortably until the life insurance check arrives.
Have a will set up:
Set up your will! There are easy online ones you can do. Fill it out. Set it up so your wife gets everything (assuming you're married here). It's simple. It saves her tons of headaches in the event of your untimely demise. (Granted it does become more complicated with more assets, divorce, remarriage, and older kids. Another post on those!)
Here is a link to our 100% Dad legal partner for online docs.
In the end, Dads want their families to mourn us. Cry for us. Tell the world how great we were. Preferably have that sentiment be true…..
Too many dads are leaving their families in a position where they are saying “He left us in a mess. All he had to do was sign these papers. He kept so much of our finances away from me.”
These loved ones can’t grieve right because they're mad at you. Take the time to create a simple inexpensive will and buy some inexpensive life insurance. I think my simple married with 1 kid will cost around $40 the first time I did one. I had my bank notarize it for free. My current life insurance is a million dollars and it costs around $400 a year for that protection.
Mom is already included in the will. And budgeting and every aspect of your financial life should be jointly operated. Titles, registrations, insurances, bills all need to be organized and known where they are. And vice versa if she is handling those things. Be on the same page. It doesn’t have to be shared work, simply shared knowledge.
Go ahead have the strange discussion about a living will. When to cut off life support. Talk about cremation versus burial. What a funeral and viewing would look like. Talk about who you want guardians to be if you both die. Who do you want to manage the trust for your kids if you both die in the same car crash.
Protect your legacy:
Life insurance replaces your income. Budgeting with your spouse keeps everything from spiraling out of control in the event of an untimely demise. The will makes sure everything you want to happen, happens.
For the most part, you have done a great job protecting your family in the event of a sudden tragedy. Here is how you go one step further.
I have always been an advocate for writing down your family value and beliefs. It documented proof that serves as a moral compass for the family, a tangible roadmap for success, and a tool for holding yourself accountable. On top of all that it serves as a guiding force for your wife and kids in the event, you are no longer around to guide them. That's a real legacy. We know right and wrong based on Dad's beliefs.
In our family, we have gone as far as to write out our values and expectations that we have of our guardians, godparents, trustee, and kids throughout the years after we die. It's a little bit like ruling from the grave but in their best interest and to make sure I don’t fund a cocaine and hooker habit for one of my boys. We have a family constitution for ourselves. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it all officially on the record of 100% Dad platforms either!
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