My thoughts, in addition to the constant questioning to make sure he just had indigestion and not a heart-related issue which he has had in the past, was that if he suddenly dies, I would be screwed (I tend to analyze potential disaster situations from all angles and for hours on end). I know that in theory he will go before me--he is 20 years older than I am and mortality data for men vs women being what it is and all--but I would like him to live to at least 90ish. OTOH, I've known way too many people who have died unexpectedly, leaving their spouse to deal with facing the world alone, in a precarious financial position, with perilous long-term prospects. Yikes.
We have been like Siamese twins for more than 30 years (working together, traveling together, always being together pretty much) and he is my favorite person in the entire world and mostly my life revolves around him and he seems invincible and while we are, for practical purposes ready for either of us to die (Will and other legal documents are up to date and such), in theory is one thing, in actuality it would be disastrous I think.
So my long-term plan for if hubby dies before me needs to address the following:
- I don't have a monthly income. I do gig work and random freelance work but I don't have a job and benefits and financial stability on my own. Hubby receives his military pension which will stop at his death (we didn't choose to pay the huge monthly fees which would allow his pension to go to me after his death) and he also receives Social Security (which would also stop at his death as I won't be old enough to draw Social Security for more than a decade from now).
- We stopped hubby's military life insurance as the monthly cost of this nearly tripled when he turned 70 and the amount of the insurance decreased by half :(
- We have significant equity in our house and our house payments are really small but the house isn't paid off yet. Getting our house paid off should be one of our top priorities.
- I am also still making payments on our car. This should be paid off within a year or so but getting it paid off ASAP would be better.
- I also have a credit card that needs to be paid off. While the monthly payments are small, the fewer bills I would have to cover on a monthly basis, the better.
- On a happy note, I have very low cost military medical insurance for life even if hubby dies (or at least until I get remarried which I have no plans to do, like, ever. The things one thinks about in the middle of the night! eeekkk).
- We have some money in savings but obviously, having lots and lots of money in savings would be better.
- We need to do some repairs to our house. The HVAC system is getting towards the end of its lifespan, a couple of appliances need to be replaced, and hubby tends to do any repairs needed (me, on my own, DIYing stuff with the help of YouTube videos would probably be disastrous).
So basically, the thing most needed for long-term survival after a spouse dies, is money. No surprise there but I think most people don't think of all of the financial ramifications of the death of the family breadwinner until after the fact when it is too late to do much but panic. I don't want to end up in that position (I'm sure I would be quite the basket case anyway, for quite a long time, should anything happen to him) so it just makes sense to prepare for a financial future alone now when I am in a good place rather than after the fact (but I will still hope he lives until 90!).
So my purpose going forward is to ensure my financial solvency no matter what happens. I need some steady sources of income, to get rid of as many bills as possible, to hammer away at savings, and to get our house in ship shape condition. This entire topic is scary and sad an awful...