Charlotte Cowles writes My Two Cents, a weekly column about money, for New York Magazine’s The Cut. She joins us to talk about her transition from a stable job with benefits and a salary to working for herself as a freelance writer. Tune in to learn more about how she is offering comfort and advice to those who write to her during the pandemic and it’s constant instability.
Not all money conversations are romantic. “How do you want to die?” is one of the most important and costly conversations Americans aren’t having. Don’t wait to ask the tough questions until the end! It can be hard to talk about death with a loved one but we need to be talking about how to prepare for death before it happens.
Where do we even start? Don’t just bring it up out of the blue. Make sure they know it’s coming so they can come to the table prepared. “When you have time, I’d like to seriously discuss our end-of-life options.”
Start with your feelings and why this is an important conversation. There is no right way to feel so they won’t feel defensive if you come at the conversation from the heart. “I worry about not being prepared in case of the unexpected and I want to ensure we respect your wishes.”
Ask questions and listen to learn! Don’t tell them their plan or offer solutions at the start. Be curious about their plan and then ask if you can create a plan together.
- What kind of end of life care do you want?
- Do you want a funeral?
- Do you have life insurance?
- Should we sell the house?
- Where is your will?
- What accounts do you have and where?
- Have you updated your beneficiaries?
These are incredibly tough questions but these are the questions we need to be thinking about for ourselves and asking our loved ones. These answers have big financial implications and the earlier you talk about it, the better you can prepare for a more sustainable grief process. Don’t let your grief process be compounded by debt and financial loss. The more we talk about difficult things, the more you can honor your loved one’s wishes and make unexpected circumstances easier to manage.
Check out our episode with Lisa Keefauver, in which she shared how she managed the unexpected loss of the love of her life and how we can make these conversations less taboo.