By Cassidy Ryan, Insurance Consultant.
“I think you’re having a heart attack.”
That’s what I told my dad. He didn’t agree.
Unfortunately, I was right. I had some frame of reference, because this was actually my dad’s second heart attack.
But when my sister called me in tears a few years later, unable to speak, I knew it wasn’t going to be good news. My father had died of a third heart attack, at age 53.
It was 2015. I was 20 years old, and my sister was 15. For whatever reason, maybe as a coping mechanism, I was unemotional about it. I don’t know if that is good or bad. But when my mother died in 2019, I was a mess. She was disabled due to back problems and took her own life. I felt like the entire world had fallen around me, and on my shoulders, all at the same time. I couldn’t speak at her funeral. My sister did all the talking, a role reversal from our dad’s service.
What were my sister and I supposed to do now? At 23, I was still in college. At 19, my sister was in school and working part time. My mother had left behind just $10,000 in life insurance, which covered her funeral expenses; she was uninsurable and unable to get a larger policy. My parents had not accumulated much in assets. I was lucky enough to be playing college basketball on academic and athletic scholarships, which kept me afloat financially, and then I played professionally for a few years. Otherwise, I would have been broke. I would have had to quit school and take the first job I could find.
Before I share what I see as the moral to this story, I want to say this loud and clear: no one should feel sorry for my sister and I, and this is not an appeal for sympathy.
Here is the message I want to get across to you, in two parts. First, take care of yourself and live a healthy lifestyle. Second, expect the unexpected. And by that, I mean: get insurance.
For some people, the worst will happen earlier than you can imagine. So get insurance – life and critical illness – early. The earlier you do it, the cheaper it will be. To cover your costs and lost income if you get sick, to take care of your final expenses at a minimum, and to leave something behind for your spouse and kids if you have them, ideally to sustain their lifestyle and ensure they get to chase and fulfill their dreams. Most children in Canada have parents who support them financially, in one way or another, well into adulthood. If you don’t prepare properly and something bad happens, your kids won’t have that advantage.
My dad worked as a mover, and my mother (ironically, maybe) was an insurance adjuster. My father drank and smoked. I had a great childhood. As a kid, I was never even aware that we didn’t have much. But I didn’t know what was coming.
PS click here to watch a 2-minute video of my story.
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