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Protecting The Family


Typically the role of protecting the family has been the ‘father’s’ job. As we celebrated Father’s Day this month, I started to think about the multitude of non-traditional family units we see today.

As new forms emerge alongside the traditional roles, the only thing that doesn’t change is the concept of protection. And this role falls to every member of the family unit, not just the father figure, as well as the community at large.

Traditional roles are still alive and well, however more and more non-traditional roles are replacing the traditional. Stay at home dads, two mother and two father families, grandparents raising their children’s children, single mother families, single father families, the combinations continue to present themselves as gender specific roles and family designations become blurred into non-recognition.

What Protection Means

Protecting our families and loved ones mean we keep them out of harms way. The most basic form of protection is to provide food, clothing and shelter. In the event of a natural disaster you protect your loved ones by preparing yourself with the knowledge of how best to act during such an event. It’s about baby-proofing the home when little ones join the family.

On a day-to-day basis, protecting loved ones means modeling good, safe behavior. Little things like teaching children to wear a bicycle helmet and wearing one yourself. It amazes me when I see parents riding alongside their young children and the child is wearing a helmet but the parent isn’t. It’s like when I was a kid and we were told that smoking was bad for us, yet the doctors doling out that sage advice did it while holding a cigarette in hand. The point is to teach children safety habits by modeling the behaviors for them. Please don’t practice the “do what I say, not what I do” method.

Long-term Protection

Looking into the future has long been an aspect of protecting the family. Health insurance, disability insurance policies, saving money for higher education along with the acquisition of and protection of assets falls into this category of long-term protection.

I see something similar to the bicycle/helmet example I gave above, when doing asset planning. People want to protect their assets for their children, but ignore the advice that will provide true asset protection.

The single most important question that must be asked to accomplish asset protection is: What erodes our assets? The most common reason for aging adults is: Long-term care expenses. However, people don’t want to hear this because they think of long-term care as nursing home care. Yet, long-term care also includes assistance at home, independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. While family members still provide the bulk of the care, many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for years and years as their health declines.

Pre-Planning Is An Option

Pre-planning is a reasonable option when it comes to long-term care expenses. There are options that may not even require buying traditional long-term care insurance policies.

Whether yours is a traditional family unit or you are living to the beat of a different drummer, show your family you would do anything to protect them. Set the example for them by putting the helmet on yourself and implementing the appropriate estate plan.