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Debt Management In Times Of Loss

Planning is the cornerstone of a stable financial life, and certainly ensuring you do a lot of it brings you closer to a guarantee that your money remains yours and your debt remains low. But have you planned for your death? What about the death of your spouse? Certainly it sounds like a fairly grim thing to consider, but it does make for sound financial thinking. Acting now will ensure that you don't find yourself with brutal financial burdens at a time when dealing with loss of a loved one is already center in your thinking. Here's how to start:

Life Insurance First

The most important insurance you may buy in your lifetime could well be life insurance coverage. It should be purchased for both spouses, and include not only coverage for the income earner(s), but also for the caregiver if such a setup exists. Realize that the loss of an income earner will mean the insurance should cover income replacement for some time to come, and it should cover child care in case of the loss of the primary child care giver. Failure to insure both partners can mean hardship down the line.

Savings First

As noted throughout our site, having an emergency savings fund is good for so many situations, which is really why it's an "emergency fund". Certainly a death can become an emergency, and can stress your finances greatly. Saving three to six months of income right now will mean you are protected from debt if a death should occur.

Individual Credit Histories

If you haven't already done so, ensure that both spouses have some form of personal credit. Joint accounts also help, as they help create a credit history for both partners. Also, ensure that if one person does the financial budgeting and "holds the purse strings" in the family, the other person should know where all important records and details are located.

Pension And Social Security

Scrutinizing your pension plan documents will ensure you know just what it provides for your family when you have passed on. Many pensions offer payout options or even continue payments as normal. On the other hand, you should also know that the surviving spouse of a previously insured worker is typically entitled to social security survivor's benefits.

Beginning to look at the financial aspects of the inevitable is an important thing for all of us to do, despite the emotional issues it may bring up. Doing this right away will ensure that your family is not subject to the debt and credit problems that many unprepared families experience during times of mourning.

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