The public reaction to the coronavirus outbreak shows how being unprepared for disasters can cause fear and anxiety and turn our finances upside-down within a matter of days. That's why we compiled steps you can take right now to not only help you through this pandemic but also prepare you for future emergency situations. With preparation comes peace-of-mind knowing you and your family are protected against whatever comes your way.
At this point, we have been told what we can do to assist the prevention of the spread of the virus in order for us and our loved ones to stay well. While we wait for the virus to run its course and the development of effective treatments and vaccines, let's get back to the basics of taking care of our immune system, which is our first line of defense.
As we age, our immune system's response reduces. This means the elderly, in general, are more likely to contract infectious diseases and more likely to die from them. If we don't maintain a healthy lifestyle as we age and, instead, only rely only on vaccines to prevent diseases, know this: studies have shown that the influenza vaccine is much less effective for people over the age of 65. So start today, and start small if you have to, as even small changes can make a big impact on your health.
If your reaction to all of this chaos and uncertainty is to be inactive, stress-eat sugar-laden foods, or drink a little too much alcohol, you're only lowering your immune system and increasing your chances of becoming a victim of the coronavirus and other viruses and diseases. Instead, focus on strengthening your immune system by living a healthy lifestyle that includes moderate exercise, getting adequate sleep, moderating your alcohol intake, minimizing stress, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, healthy grains, and clean-sourced meat and fish.
We will face challenges in life and need to be prepared for them not only physically and financially, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. What we focus on expands; where there is no vision, the people will perish. Start thinking through your best-case scenario and the short-term and long-term steps needed to make that plan a reality.
This is a time to consider what is and isn't working in your life. Keep doing what is working and get rid of anything that isn't. We will also experience a better quality of life when we engage our faith and find meaning in the simple actions of upgrading our self-care so that we are available to care for others in our lives when we are needed. What can you start doing today to make a positive impact on your self-care tomorrow?
Protect Your Income Source
Think of the steps you can take now to plan financially for a health or life emergency for you and your dependents. If one of you is injured, what would your health insurance cover, and what would you have to pay out of pocket? Understand your health insurance plan and adjust where needed to ensure you and your loved ones are covered in case of a health emergency. Proper coverage can mean the difference between a health emergency producing a minor hit to your finances and causing a major financial blow.
The coronavirus is forcing infected people to be quarantined at home or the hospital for an extended period of time. What happens if a health circumstance prevents you from working for weeks or months? If you're the breadwinner of the family, what would losing out on that income mean to your household? Just as you buy auto and home insurance, so should you consider purchasing disability insurance. It pays a monthly income to provide a critical source of financial support when you need it most. The Social Security Administration states that one in four workers will become disabled before reaching retirement age. If you don't have short or long-term disability insurance, talk to a provider about how this type of insurance can protect you and your family.
Another type of protection that can help ensure your family's financial security is life insurance. If you pass away, would your family have the financial backing to cover household expenses, pay off loans, and live comfortably? If you don't currently have a life insurance policy, you aren't alone. According to a report put out by the life insurance industry, about 43% of the population don't own a life insurance policy. Yet, the study also found that nearly one-third of Americans would feel the loss of the primary household earner within a month of their passing. If you don't have a policy or have one that might need reviewing, work with a qualified financial planner or insurance agent to make sure you have the correct type and amount.
Protect Your Loved Ones
In addition to life insurance, you should take further steps to protect yourself, your family, and your wealth through estate planning. Proper estate planning protects you and your family, ensures your possessions and assets are distributed according to your wishes while minimizing tax burden, declares who would take custody of your children and pets, and states who you want to take care of financial and health decisions if you are no longer able to. Without an estate plan, the state steps in and decides how your estate will be handled; going through this probate process can be lengthy, expensive, and emotionally trying for your loved ones.
Having an estate plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing you and your family are protected, your wealth is preserved, and your legacy will be passed on as you intend. If you do not have an estate plan yet, call us at Sundvick Legacy Center to get started. If you already have an estate plan, make sure to get it reviewed periodically as assets change and life situations happen that can affect who your beneficiaries should be.
Together, having adequate insurance policies and an estate plan in place can help mitigate the financial impact disasters have on you and your family. As this developing coronavirus situation has shown, many aren't as prepared for disasters as they thought they were. Fortunately, we can make the changes needed to create a solid security net going forward.
Emergency situations like the coronavirus outbreak tend to remind people of the importance of having an estate plan and keeping it up-to-date. Sundvick Legacy Center is here to answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding your estate and can hold phone conferences or video conferences for those who cannot make it to our offices. Please contact us today if you need an estate plan or need to review/update your existing plan.