CRAC tackles mitigating risk at milestone conference in Winnipeg
By Andrew Snook
Courageous conversations with loved ones was the focus of the Crane Rental Association of Canada’s (CRAC) keynote speaker this morning during the association’s 20th Annual Conference and AGM being held this week in Winnipeg.
The morning sessions kicked off with insurance expert and financial advisor Jane Blaufus discussing the importance of preparing yourself, your family and your business for worst-case scenarios; to help mitigate risks related to one’s financial security.
Blaufus is the author of “With the [STROKE] of a pen: Claim your life,” which is recognized as one of the most comprehensive, actionable, personal and financial planning resources available today for families, individuals and business owners alike. She has more than 25 years of insurance expertise as a financial advisor, sales manager and executive. Today she is the principal of The Blaufus Group Inc., based in Ancaster, Ont.; and is a highly sought after international keynote speaker, a frequent guest expert on both national and local TV and radio, and a contributor to the Huffington Post.
Blaufus tackled the topic of worst-case scenarios with great eloquence and passion as she told the crowd the story of her life before and after the sudden passing of her husband, a pilot, who lost his life when his plane crashed in a tragic accident that took the lives of him and three passengers. Following the accident, Blaufus was hit with lawsuits from the families of the victims of the crash, and spent 10 years in the courts in financial uncertainty, awaiting decisions from the courts.
“Why do you think I travel around and tell people my story?” Blaufus asked the crowd. “I do it because I was in the business and I thought if anything happened to me I would be able to handle it better than anyone else… I was wrong.”
Understandably, Blaufus was in extreme emotional distress after losing her husband so suddenly. She said having a solid insurance policy in place really helped her throughout her grieving process.
“The life insurance my husband put in place proved to be a safety net,” she said. “It was a gentle place for me to fall until I could find the strength to get back on my feet again to build a new normal for me and my child… if I had to pick myself up financially in addition to everything else, I wouldn’t be here today speaking to you.”
Blaufus stressed the need to have “courageous conversations” with yourself and family members about your finances, guardianship for your children (if they are under the age of majority), and your desires related to your medical needs and funeral wishes, and to engage the appropriate planning professionals when getting your financial house in order.
“It’s really important that you have the proper documentation in place,” she said. “Having a will in place that is drawn up by a lawyer, and that is up to date, is worth its weight in gold.”
Blaufus also encouraged people to introduce their children to their financial planner, and to take a great deal of time and thought when selecting an executor for your estate, and make sure they know your wishes in great detail.
“Share your wishes for raising your children, and share your wishes for disbursement of your estate,” she said, adding that people need to make sure they ask the person they choose as an executor if they will willingly take on this responsibility, and have it recorded in a signed document.
Blaufus discussed the importance of business continuation in the case of a medical emergency or death, and how owners and their businesses can be adversely affected. She said that every company has employees that are key people inside an organization, and everyone should have a plan in place, in case those people (including yourself) are no longer able to work.
“Do you know how things would affect you if a key employee was taken out for a while? What would happen if you became critically ill or required long-term care for yourself, or someone you love was ill?” she asked the crowd. “If you suffered from a long-term disability, is there a long-term disability buyout in place? What’s ‘Plan B’? If God forbid, you were going to die, is there a funded buy-sell agreement in place where all the parties have signed… or is the business you’ve spent your life building going to become a fire sale?”
Blaufus said that, as a business owner, it is vital to have a wealth team in place made up of a financial advisor, accountant and lawyer.
When wrapping up, she reiterated to the crowd the importance of having these courageous conversations.
“Talk with your loved ones, and talk with the necessary professionals,” she said. “We have an obligation to ourselves, and to those we love, to make sure we leave this world in an organized manner. None of us can deal with the emotional loss and try and wade through the financial chaos afterwards, and neither should you have to.”
For more information on The Blaufus Group and her book, “With the [STROKE] of a pen: Claim your life,” visit www.theblaufusgroup.com.