How #LifeReady is Your Family?

This post is sponsored by 360ACCESS on behalf of Manulife. The opinions are my own.

I had a pretty epic meltdown when I was pregnant with Grady. Shawn and I had some retirement savings. We had a (tiny) savings account. But we also had a large mortgage and a baby on the way. I definitely did not feel like part of the 28% of Canadians who consider themselves financially ready for life's changes.

Talking about life insurance and wills and guardianship in your late 20s is not fun or even remotely comfortable but it was necessary to bring a modicum of peace to my pregnancy hormone-addled brain. We did some research; felt like imposters playing "grownup" while discussing things like annuities and dividends and premiums with our advisor; and purchased life insurance policies that made sense for us and our growing family, hoping that we would never need to use them but knowing that their existence would provide some comfort.

Fast forward a year. I had just turned 30. I had a one-year-old. And I had cancer. I wasn't deathly ill. I wasn't camped out on death's doorstep. But I was facing multiple surgeries and treatment. Our "just in case" life insurance policies became an immense source of relief during a tumultuous time. Life felt out of control apart from one key area: my family's financial future should anything happen to me during treatment. Spoiler alert: I did not die. Shawn did not need to cash in my life insurance policy. But it was there. It was a huge wakeup call for me. Preparing for the "what ifs" and "just in cases" doesn't make me a pessimist. It makes me #LifeReady.

I'm not saying that one act of financial maturity has me feeling more financially savvy than I did four years ago. I took the Manulife Financial Readiness Quiz and scored a Readiness Level 3 which means I've definitely got room for improvement (which isn't a surprise to me). I find it somewhat reassuring to know that I'm not alone and there are plenty of resources available to me to learn how to prepare so my family thrives financially. If you're interested to find out how your financial readiness stacks up, the quiz took less than two minutes to fill out and doesn't require any personal financial information. It showed me where I'm weaker (investments) and where my strengths are (financial stress - who knew?) and a breakdown of areas where I can improve.

Shawn and I want to travel with our family. We want to celebrate birthdays and holidays without feeing pinched financially. We want to contribute to post-secondary education and weddings and down payments on first homes. All of this requires planning and preparation.

Genoa, Italy. Pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-children, when I had the funds to fly to beautiful places to gawk at the stunning architecture. We want to experience this with our family but it won't just fall into our laps. Brick by brick, dollar by dollar, we need to build a stable foundation for our family's financial future. We need to get #LifeReady.

Genoa, Italy. Pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-children, when I had the funds to fly to beautiful places to gawk at the stunning architecture. We want to experience this with our family but it won't just fall into our laps. Brick by brick, dollar by dollar, we need to build a stable foundation for our family's financial future. We need to get #LifeReady.

@Manulife is having a Twitter party tomorrow, October 28th at 9:00pmEST to chat about being #LifeReady. RSVP here and join us on Twitter for your chance to win over $2,500 in cash prizes.