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Schulfer & Associates, LLC


As a Wealth Management Advisor, a significant part of my job is to analyze risk.  Risk to an investment  portfolio, risk to a financial plan or a retirement income plan, risk to a business plan..…  risks are the “what if’s” in life.  There is risk everywhere, and the greater the asset or plan, the greater the impact of risk.  As an example, let’s say you buy a home, it’s the American Dream!  What is the risk to that dream asset?  Fire, natural disaster, a break in, a liability claim.  Your American dream could turn into a financial nightmare.  Do you assume that risk?   You can either accept that risk personally by owning that asset uninsured, OR, transfer the financial risk by purchasing a homeowners insurance policy that covers monetary loss due to those or other circumstances.  If you have a mortgage, the lending company will not allow you to go uninsured, because they realize that the risk of financial loss, although a small chance, is too great to assume yourself or impose on your lending company.


There is no greater “what if’ to any of life’s plans than the premature death of a spouse, parent with dependent children, or key contributor to a business.  If you have life experience, chances are you know someone who lost a loved one prematurely.  But until you walk in their shoes, you can’t imagine how all of life changes, for the rest of their lives.


In every circumstance other than death, YOU have the option to take on the financial risk for YOURSELF.   In the above example, if your house burns down and you chose not to purchase insurance, you simply have paid for the loss.   The money, sweat equity and all that you have stuck into the house is lost in flames, gone.  You have to then use your own resources for another one.  If you own other assets that are uninsured, like a car, a boat, jewelry or another of item of value, and it gets lost, stolen or wrecked and you do not have insurance, you clearly lose the asset and you choose whether to replace it at your own expense….…  you’ve personally assumed all of the risk.  But in the case of premature death of a key contributor to a business or far more importantly, to your family, the risk is your death, but you do not assume that risk financially; your partners or your family members do.  After all, in the event of your death, you are not there to pick up the pieces and go on.  They will have to, without you.  Without properly preparing for the lasting impacts of your death, your family will be devastated emotionally and financially, and may never recover.  How will they pay for your final expenses including the possibility of large medical bills?  How would their lives change if TODAY, lasting forever, your family completely lost all of your income?  Do you have adequate financial reserves that your family will use?  Or, do they have ample sources of other income to fully cover their needs?   Have you sufficiently prepared for their risk in the event of your death?  What choices have you made?  Have you made a choice?  Sure you have.  Even doing nothing is a choice.  Have you chosen to have your family assume that risk, or have you transferred risk by purchasing a life insurance policy that will thoroughly cover their financial risk due to your death?   Remember, in every circumstance other than your death, YOU have the option to take on the financial risk YOURSELF.  But if others depend on you, by default THEY take on the financial risk of your death until they no longer depend on you.  How long will they depend on you?


It’s never a matter of IF we are going to die.  The matter is when.  How have you prepared?   



(Author’s note:  Due to industry regulations, I am prohibited from responding to any online comments. I welcome you to contact me via e-mail or phone, including suggestions for article topics).


LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or  Visit | blog.


Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  Accredited Wealth Management Advisor SM and AWMA® are trademarks or registered service marks of the College for Financial Planning in the United States and/or other countries.  The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation is earned through the Center for Fiduciary Studies.