How To Talk To Your Spouse About What Happens When You’re Gone

How To Talk To Your Spouse About What Happens When You're Gone

"I have been dreaming of a world tour since we got married, when are we going?" Sudha teases Ravi, as they watched their favourite travel show on TV. Ravi knew he had plans in place for a family outing but jokingly remarks," That's possible only after retirement."

"And, what about our kids' school fees, we'll have to pay that soon too," Sudha insists, perhaps making sure that her hubby has their finances in order. To the rest of the world, Sudha and Ravi are your typical middle-class family banking on a single salary income, with the lady of the house and the two small kids being the financial dependents. So if anything were to happen to stop that money coming in, things could get dire quickly.

Ravi is of course doing his bit, and tells her as much-how he's religiously saving a portion of his income to make sure their long-term goals are met. The kids' education, paying for their eventual marriages, family holidays and a nest egg for retirement, all of it is on his mind.

"But, where's the money, honey! I haven't married a millionaire," Sudha half-jokingly prods again.

It's a good example of how couples find it hard to have money conversations, especially the ones where they consider what happens when one of them dies. Hardships of married life notwithstanding, it's nearly impossible for two loving individuals to broach the topic of death without feeling awkward, afraid, or panicked.

"You don't value me, my insurance company thinks I am worth a crore! Ravi chimes in response. They're both joking with each other, but mostly because they're both too afraid to seriously consider a life without the other, and the financial hardships that could bring.

Ravi in fact does have a stalwart life insurance policy, one that will keep Sudha and their kids cared for long after he's gone. He just doesn't know how to bring it up with his wife. It's a problem most of us will experience, or already have. But life is unpredictable, so expecting to have many years to inform your spouse about an insurance policy is risky.

The thing is, bringing the topic up in conversation isn't as easy as it sounds. First, you have to work up the courage to have that unpleasant conversation. Then you have to hope your spouse isn't so uncomfortable with the topic of your demise that they prefer to just sweep it under the rug. Because when you do that, you're putting your family in peril, on the off-chance you meet a sudden end, instead of enjoying the long life you have planned.

How To Talk To Your Spouse About What Happens When You're Gone

Why wait when you can prepare for the unknown with life insurance cover? HDFC Life offers a variety of coverage plans to keep your family cared for when you can't do it yourself. For instance, their HDFC Life Click 2 Protect 3D Plus plan covers your loved ones' expenses not just in the event of your death, but also if you're terminally ill or became disabled in an accident, meaning you can't work anymore.

One way to prepare for this sort of tragedy is what many experts call a "money date". It's where you and your spouse sit down together (at least once in a while) and figure out what you want out of your money. Are you looking to just survive one day at a time, after losing a job or undergoing expensive medical treatment? Do you just want enough money to support your family lifestyle, or would you like to be able to vacation often? Are you saving up for a long-term goal like a child's wedding, or just a comfortable retirement. That first step is about aligning what the two of you want out of money as a resource.

But about that life insurance conversation…how do you start it?

Well, humour is an option. Couples often joke about remarrying when the other passes away, or something of the sort. The next time that happens, just pepper in a joke about how they'll at least be set up financially to do whatever they want. It may not lead to an entire conversation unless you push a little, but at least it's setting up that discussion for the future.

How To Talk To Your Spouse About What Happens When You're Gone

Another, and much more important step though, is giving your spouse access to that insurance policy. You can perhaps take a page out of Ravi's book here. In response to his wife's gentle ribbing he replies, "That's already taken care of. And, by the way, there's another thing I need to show you." He then shows her the drawer where he's placed all of the documents related to his insurance policy.

Yes, that seems like a pretty morbid idea on the face of it. But it could be a lifesaver. Maybe your spouse will look at the drawer at some point, or maybe they'll permanently avoid it due to their discomfort. If a time ever comes where they desperately need to cash in your life insurance policy, and you've not been able to tell them all about it, they'll at least have everything in one place.

How To Talk To Your Spouse About What Happens When You're Gone

Just like discussions of contraception, family planning, and where to live, it's really important to have the insurance talk, no matter how awkward things get. Try to play it off with a joke if you have to. When the kids are playing on their PlayStation, joke about how your character in the video game has a Rs 1 crore safety net from HDFC Life. Or kick your legs up and relax as the family watches Kaun Banega Crorepati, saying you already are one.

If you've at least mentioned your insurance policy before, your spouse will get the hint. And even if they're uncomfortable discussing it, they'll still appreciate you're caring for your family every way you can.

(This article is sponsored by HDFC Life)