The Most Important Financial Conversation You’re Not Having

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It used to be that there were three topics of conversation to avoid: politics, religion, and money. When it comes to money, however, there’s reason to believe that times are changing. According to a 2018 survey done by TD Bank, 97% of Millennials ages 18-34 said they discuss finances at least once a month. 

Hopefully, those conversations include future financial protection such as life insurance, but if not…what’s holding you back? 

Why You Should Talk About Life Insurance

Some people know all too well the price of avoiding difficult topics. It only took one day for Dawn Holley’s life to change. As a happily married mom of a three-year-old, Holley was enjoying raising a young family when her husband died unexpectedly a little over a decade ago. Suddenly faced with the burden of grieving while taking charge of the family’s finances, Dawn was on a crash course in money management. 

To her surprise, she realized that while her husband had mentioned life insurance in passing, he had never finalized a policy. Before she even had a chance to process what had happened, she was fielding calls from bill collectors, looking for a job, and trying to stay in her home.

The surprise Dawn felt is all too familiar to many people. She notes that when it comes to finances in general, and life insurance specifically, “It was just something people didn’t discuss, or even really think about.” She spent the next ten years finding her footing (she now runs Stepping Stones to FI, a blog about financial independence). 

But looking back, she recognizes that her road to success would have been a lot smoother if she had been having conversations about planning for the worst way earlier. 

One thing is clear from her story. It’s time to normalize talking about life insurance. 

Sure, there are reasons why “What would happen financially if you or your spouse were to pass away?” might not be in the brunch chat starter pack. After all, everyone’s level of economic health is different, and talking dollars and cents can be confusing, boring, or both. Plus, the idea of an untimely death doesn’t exactly make you want to pass the mimosa pitcher. 

But as taboo, as it might seem, connecting on shared experiences and expectations, is important to growing, strengthening, and maintaining any kind of relationship in your life.

Whole life insurance pen and dollar banknotes.

Why People Aren’t Talking About Life Insurance

For many people, talking about life insurance brings a unique sense of discomfort. No one wants to think about a death in the family or their kids growing up without them. 

According to Thomas Faupl, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in financial therapy for individuals and couples, this is a difficult conversation to have because, in today’s culture, most people view death as something that happens to everyone else. 

Faupl suggests that if you feel this way, you should view it as a time to get out of your comfort zone and use that apprehension to dig deeper into the people relationships around you. While making sure that box is checked at some point is important, it’s also helpful to set smaller goals and benchmarks to facilitate healthy conversations. 

Another observation Faupl makes is that when it comes to finances, many people are left acting reactively because they haven’t taken the time to plan well beforehand. Setting reasonable goals (whether it’s agreeing on a need, or sharing reading materials) can get you where you need to be in the long run. 

Even if your goal is simply to establish mutual curiosity, setting an intention right off the bat is an important way to get on the same page. Start the conversation off with consideration, and it is more likely to go well.

When bringing up uncomfortable issues, it’s important to get off on the right foot. Even in casual situations, make sure everyone has the time to talk and be heard. Put another way, don’t tack it on to an already stressful conversation! 

Being upfront and shedding light on your concerns is a powerful way to take back control of your money, and your life. 

Talking About Life Insurance Can Strengthen Your Relationships

At the end of the day, talking about life insurance isn’t just an important way to plan for the future, it’s also a great way to build empathy for others in the present. Who knew life insurance could be so inspiring? 

Ultimately, it’s the difficult conversations that can have the most life-affirming outcomes. The more we normalize preparing for the worst, the easier it will be to support our friends, family, and loved ones in the event of an emergency. 

For Dawn Holley, experiencing the unthinkable has changed the way she talks to the people in her life about their plans. She’s now able to have this type of hard conversation because she wants everyone she knows to have security in their future. Her goal is that no one is left in the kind of hard situation that she was after her husband passed away. 

Something important begins to happen once you start talking to your friends and family about life insurance. Your sense of anxiety about an uncertain future begins to fade. You realize you’re not alone, and that you have the tools to handle whatever life throws at you (which is saying a lot, considering what this year has brought us). 

Suddenly, the future seems a little less uncertain. Now, doesn’t that sound like something worth talking about? Talking about life insurance is a small, yet important step that can help to change your life.,


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