Mom, Dad...You're Grounded!


As difficult as it might be, it's important to talk with your parents about the financial safeguards they have or don't have in place, should something unfortunate happen.

I grew up in a VERY financially conservative family --we are talking about some serious penny pinchers. Naturally, I thought, “My parents must have extremely good insurance coverage since they are so careful about their financial decisions, right?”  I recently discovered that I was very, very wrong.

I used to think that we were “poor” compared to my friends. I wasn't given much spending money or a fancy new car at 16, and every penny I DID get came with very strict instructions to “spend it wisely, and don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket.” By the time I went to college, I realized just how backwards I had it. We were not “poor,” in fact, we were very well off. My parents made conservative financial choices in order to ensure they lived debt free and had a solid financial foundation. Recently though, I tried the classic young adult tactic of trying to get advice from my mom and dad without them knowing I actually listened in the past.

I know that my parents’ financial decisions have and still do affect me. So, I decided to check in on my parent’s money story. Here’s how:

A couple days ago, I gave my mom a call to figure out what kind of financial safeguards she had in place so I could learn a thing or two from her.  I asked:

“Mom, you and dad must have had some pretty good life insurance in place? And I imagine you maxed out disability insurance for dad, since he worked with a lot with machinery, right? There was a good chance he could have gotten hurt working, and you’d want to protect his paycheck, right?”

As if it was nothing, she replied,

“Well I had enough to cover burial expenses, and you’re dad had about $50,000 in life insurance coverage. We both had small disability offerings through work, so we didn't see a need to get any additional coverage.”

After picking my jaw up off the floor, stunned, I started spouting off questions, “Seriously? Why? Weren't you concerned about dad getting hurt? What if he passed away, what if you both passed away? What about your children’s future? How could our guardian have taken us in as such a financial burden? What about our college?”  I felt like Lindsay Lohan’s character (after she turns into her mom) in the latest version of Freaky Friday.

My head was spinning with questions. Coming from a family that was so fiscally conservative I could not believe they would take those kinds of risks. Suddenly, my mom sounded a little embarrassed as she replied,

“Well Sara, thank God nothing happened, and you’re right, we never should have accepted that kind of uncertainty. Just remember to learn from us as you plan for your family.”

She was right. Thank God nothing happened and I have two amazing, healthy parents. It did, however, still really scare me to think about what COULD have happened. As always, her advice was spot-on. We are blessed that nothing happened, but talking with my mom inspired me to be more proactive in protecting my family’s future, whenever that day comes.

Have you talked to your parents about money lately?

Written by Sara Dannenberg

This blog post is from the Author's perspective and doesn't speak for brightpeak financial. Contact brightpeak if you want to know more about brightpeak products, and keep in mind that they are not available in all states and there are some limitations (some exclusions and restrictions may apply).

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