We all worry about our children. You can look anywhere and find all sorts of wisdom about what you should or shouldn’t worry about. Do you worry whether you are helicopter or freerange? Are you an attachment parent? Where do you stand on cry it out? Take a look and you can always find something to worry about when it comes to your children.
My mother passed away several months ago after battling Alzheimer’s disease for over fifteen years. Even in death, she passed on the most powerful parenting lesson that I can never forget. Now that I’ve learned this lesson, many other worries about my children seem inconsequential. This lesson is so powerful, I’ve partnered with Prudential to share it with you here.
About eighteen years ago, my father, a university professor, was asked to teach a two-week course in Thailand. He jumped at the opportunity and suggested that our whole family come with him. One balmy evening, we went out to dinner with newfound friends. It was heaven; we were eating the freshest, most exquisitely prepared, mouth-watering Thai food ever. The crowd was jovial, the scents filling the air were magical, and the food was perfection in my mouth.
Somebody asked my mom “How are you enjoying your stay in Thailand?” She responded, “Oh, I just love cocker spaniels and peonies!” And then she lowered her head and became silent. It was as if she was surprised and embarrassed by her words. What was going on???
I was immediately alarmed, I leaned over and spoke to her but she seemed fine. I assumed she just stumbled on her words after a glass of wine. Boy, was I wrong.
She too must have sensed something was wrong because three years later we learned that she had seen her doctor and began taking medications to slow the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
We were grateful for the slow progression of her disease. We had time with her; we had time to prepare ourselves for the inevitable. She was formally diagnosed about three years after that confusing night in Thailand. And then she survived another fifteen years before it overcame her. In the early stages of her disease, although he was still teaching, my father was able to tend to her needs.
It wasn’t long though before she needed help during the day. We found somebody to help her with personal tasks around the house such as laundry and general cleaning. Mom was no longer able to prepare meals on her own, so she had help with that as well.
It wasn’t long before mom needed more skilled full-time care during the day. Mom required help with more personal tasks such as getting dressed, brushing her teeth, bathing, toileting and walking. She was losing her ability to read, which was her favorite pastime. So her caretaker would read to her during the day and play music that mom enjoyed and responded to.
After my mother passed away, I was grateful for two things. First, her death was relatively quick; it was painless, and it saved her from any further debilitation or suffering. Second, my mother understood the importance of planning for the future.
My father was a teacher, and my mother stayed at home. We weren’t, by any means, wealthy and my parents were already in their mid to late 40’s by the time my mother began her retirement financial planning. But by the time we needed to start covering the costs of additional care, her careful financial planning ensured the funds needed were available.
My mother had always been in charge of our family finances and she inspired me to own my own financial security. I believe that the key to her success, even though she knew nothing of investments, is that she was wise enough to enlist the advice of financial professionals. Prudential has a team of professionals waiting to help you determine what your financial goals are – including planning for the retirement that you want.
Mom’s financial planning truly bought my father and I peace of mind. When it came to her care and the end of life decisions that we faced, her financial planning gave us the peace of mind to make those decisions solely in her best interest and without much financial consideration. She prepared us financially to spend her last years with her without digging our family into immeasurable debt, stress or worry.
Despite the fact that my father was the “bread winner,” it was my mother who achieved financial security for their old age. My mother never wanted to be a financial burden on me (an only child) and she took control of the family savings to make sure that wouldn’t happen. With the help of professional investors, she grew her savings into enough to care for both she and my father in their golden years.
Because of her planning, her last years were golden despite Alzheimer’s disease because she ensured that our family had the funds necessary to provide her with all that she needed. She had a constant companion without my father having to quit his job. She was never alone or in danger for even a minute. That is the peace of mind that financial planning can buy you and your family. It’s never been easier to locate a Prudential financial advisor near you.
For so many of us, now is the time to start taking the steps that we should, as parents, to plan for our futures so that we buy peace of mind for our children. There are very few lessons so valuable. I’m grateful for this one and now I must plan responsibly for my future so that my sons will have peace of mind when my time comes. In fact, I have taken the time to purchase a life insurance policy and have started planning for the future so that I can feel confident that my income will be replaced for my growing family and I can keep their dreams alive.
Raising kids is challenging enough. But what happens when you have to help take care of your parents at the same time? Check out this video below for the lessons Renee has learned as a member of the “sandwich generation.”
Please share this post and video with your friends so that they can hopefully be inspired to take action now to take charge of their future and provide their children with peace of mind. In addition, I want to hear from you, about your stories of planning for the future!