It was one of those emails that takes your breath away. I wasn’t expecting it, I couldn’t have been, and opening that email left me stunned. My childhood best friend has breast cancer. Breast cancer. We are 33 years old. We are moms. We are too young. We are too healthy. We were just kids. NO!
My friend’s crushing announcement comes on the heels of my 90-year-old grandmother’s mastectomy last fall that resulted from her second diagnosis of breast cancer more than 10 years after having a mastectomy on the other side. And my mom’s best friend’s announcement that she too would undergo a mastectomy on the second breast more than 30 years after a mastectomy and subsequent “cancer-free” diagnosis. And, of course, my Aunt’s five-year anniversary of her continued battle against breast cancer later this month.
Think breast cancer hits close to home for me?
Ladies, self-breast exams and mammograms are a must! If you are reading this, you are old enough for a self-breast exam, and if you have celebrated you annual 29th birthday more than once (I am on my 4th!), you are old enough for a mammogram. Get one.
But I digress. All of this cancer stuff has me taking another look at how prepared my family is for the future. Mentally, one can never be prepared for a diagnosis like this, but financially I want to make sure that we are as prepared as we can be for the “what ifs” of the world.
Things have been kind of crazy the past couple of years – having kids; me switching from full-time employed, to part-time, to stay at home to work at home; and my husband starting a new job after 10+ years with his last company has left little time (or extra money) to make financial plans for our future. But one of our goals for 2013 is to get back on track. This is my financial preparedness check list:
- Step one – Life insurance. My husband and I already have life insurance policies in place. Check.
- Step two – A will. Before my oldest was born, my husband and I both drafted basic wills. However, that was more than five years ago. It’s time to review and update.
- Step three – Financial plan. My husband calls me a little squirrel, I squirrel away little bits of cash here and there for savings. But our savings are kind of all over the place, we have no plan and frankly, I am not even sure exactly what we have off hand. (Shame.) We are saving, so that’s a start. But we need a plan. A real plan, not just a squirrel.
My husband and I both previously worked in the financial industry, so we have a more-than-basic understanding of what we need to do. But he worked in IT and I in writing, neither of us are savvy experts. And, to tell you the truth, like so many others we’ve been putting off what we need to do. It’s time to hire some outside help.
But where to start? While I know that we need some help and direction about how to best achieve our goals, I believe that it is up to us as a family to set our own goals.
I guess my step three really needs subsections a) sit down with my husband and set some goals, b) find and meet with a financial planner c) put our new action plans into place. I am not excited about, but I know this is something we need to do. And once it is done, and I have a roadmap in front of me, I know I will feel better.
So that’s my plan. How prepared are you for your financial future?