As I get older, it’s dawning on me just how quickly life can change. As a kid, waiting for my birthday or for the end of the school term seemed to take forever.
Now, as a grown-up, the years seem to be racing by – and life really can change overnight. One minute you’re happily married, up nights with your new baby and planning your summer holiday, but the next it could all be over and you’re left as a single parent in a house you can’t afford anymore.
While ‘tis the season to be jolly, sadly life in the real world can be gloomy – no matter what time of year it is. You never know when the three dreaded D’s – death, divorce and disaster – might be lurking.
But if any of them happen to cross your path, you need to think fast. A morbid situation to consider I know, but what would you need to do if you lost the love of your life through death or divorce? On a practical level, at the very least you would most likely need to change your bank accounts and update your mortgage agreement.
As with so many other things in life, preparation for a rainy day can make life easier when it comes to dealing with difficult times. That’s why it is so important to think about writing a will. And another way for a couple to protect each other and their family is life insurance, which can provide a lump sum to help protect your family financially when you’re gone, pay for funeral expenses and help pay off any debts – depending on your circumstances and the type of policy you choose. Doing so can also give you tremendous peace of mind, knowing that in the event of your death, your family will be taken care of.
We can all take life for granted sometimes, never more so than when everything seems to be going smoothly. But, in fact, just when you are least thinking about going through your finances to make sure you can cope with life’s unexpected situations is exactly the time you should be doing it – in other words, when you have time on your side to think about all the ‘what ifs’ coldly and calmly.
For instance, what would happen if you lost your job and couldn’t afford your mortgage repayments or rent for a few months? What would happen to your business if you were taken ill? What would happen to the family home should you or your partner die suddenly? These are difficult questions to answer. But they’re even harder when you’re dealing with a worst-case scenario in reality.
Life can be cruel and your personal and financial situation can change overnight. If you do experience a sudden change in your circumstances and don’t have any preparation in place, help and support is available. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau can be a good first port of call in a storm and can point you in the direction of professional help should you find yourself going through a divorce, for example, or being made redundant, or if your partner has died. The CAB is unable to give you financial advice – but don’t forget, assistance can also be found at the local branch of your bank. You’ll be able to talk to someone who can help you go through your everyday finances and insurance needs.