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October 18, 2023

Do You Really Want to Sell the House?

47% of Canadian Millennials don’t have life insurance (source). That’s millions of people who are living without this important piece of financial protection.

If you were to ask them why, it is likely that you’d hear one (or all) of these very common responses.

  • “It costs too much money.” (Actually, if you’re young and healthy, it really doesn’t. Learn more.)
  • “I don’t want an expensive funeral, so I don’t need it.” (Dying is expensive. Find out why.)
  • “We could always sell the house to pay off any debt.” (But… do you really want to sell your family home? Read on and decide for yourself!)

It can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of your potential future self… to have suddenly lost someone you love, to be faced with sudden and unexpected debt, to be forced to sell your home.

As unpleasant as it is to think about these things, it is crucial to do it now – when you’re young, healthy, and able to make decisions that aren’t clouded by your grief.

The way we see it, there are three main things to consider if selling your home is your “Plan B” in the event of an unexpected loss.

  1. The death of a loved one, financial hardship, and moving house are among the top five most stressful life events. With that in mind, do you really want to take on the added stress of selling your home if you have just lost someone you love?
  2. If you have children, you would be hard-pressed to find a mental health expert that would advise you to uproot them during this difficult, if not traumatic, time in their young lives. Losing a parent is hard enough – but imagine they also had to say goodbye to their home, the neighbourhood, their school, and their friends.
  3. The way house prices are going these days, the sale of your home may feel like you’ve won the lottery. But keep in mind the following:
    1. Whatever is still left of your mortgage? You’ll have to pay that off first.
    2. Sure, you might sell your house for twice what you paid for it. But you’ll also be looking at very steep prices as a buyer – for homes that may be a fraction of the size you are used to or that are located in areas you don’t necessarily want to live in.
    3. While retirement may still be far away, it’s still important to plan for it. Many empty-nesters tend to downsize – once the mortgage is paid off, of course – to help supplement the cost of retirement living.

When you consider the financial and emotional implications of selling your home after the death of a spouse, it may no longer seem worth it. And that lump sum you’d have access to if you did sell? That’s what life insurance is for.

If you speak with an advisor, they can help you calculate an appropriate coverage amount based on your household income, how many children you have, your outstanding mortgage payments, and the number of years left until retirement – leaving you with exactly the amount you’d need if the unthinkable were to happen.

So… do you really want to sell the house?

For a free needs analysis, contact your advisor today. Don’t have a Serenia Life advisor? Fill out this short form to get the ball rolling.

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