The “Love Letter”

Some women have asked me if it is too big a risk to rely solely on a husband’s income (given that he could tragically pass away and leave his family with nothing.) However, with advance planning and preparedness, this concern can be addressed. Here’s where the idea of a “love letter” comes in. It’s basically a letter written by the primary income-earner in the family that explains what to do in the event of his passing. Although this could be called a “will,” it is something more. 


My husband, Edric, got this idea while interviewing certain guests for the show, On the Money, on ANC. He secured certain investments in order to safeguard the kids and me should anything happen to him. The funds would be enough to cover our needs (and more) if he were to be taken by the Lord before me.

When I first heard him explain this during a finance talk he gave, I teared thinking about it. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without Edric (I still can’t) and the reality of these investments were almost more troubling than reassuring because they implied a life without him. Yet, I am also grateful that he gave considerable thought to this. 

Although it’s common in Philippine culture to look to relatives when financial needs arise, and it’s a beautiful trait to be so caring for one another, I also feel that there is something very unhealthy about the burden we place on family members (whether it be on grown children, parents, or siblings) to give of their hard-earned money when they also have needs of their own. One of the things I appreciate about Edric’s side of the family, especially his father’s, is that they were raised to fend for themselves. There was no pressure or expectation that monetary support would come from anywhere else but from what each person had the capacity to earn, build, or acquire. By God’s grace, they remain close and have great relationships with one another, and money hasn’t come between them. 

Thankfully, Edric grew up with a father who instilled the value of “providing for one’s own” in him, too. Therefore Edric assumed that it was his responsibility to protect the kids and me from future financial stress or from being in a position that would burden others to provide for us if his life were cut short. The truth is neither of us know when we will go and as much as I would like to think that Edric and I will live forever, or expire together at the same time with all our kids, or be raptured as a family, these are romantic fantasies that may not happen. Hence, Edric has a love letter written for me that affirms his love for the kids and me, revisits the values which define our family (I asked him to add this part, ha ha ha), and very practically includes the persons whom I need to get in touch with to access such and such accounts and insurances, etc. (Truthfully, I do not know the exact details of the letter to this day and I don’t want to until it needs to be opened.)

It pains me to envision his parting words but knowing the letter exists has somehow magnified my appreciation for his leadership, initiative, and wisdom, as well as allayed my fears about how the kids and I will survive. Even if I bring in some income, my primary job is home educating my kids, and whatever I contribute from projects is not commensurate to what Edric currently makes. If he were to be incapacitated or pass away I would be in financial trouble as a mom of five kids! 

Ultimately, my security (as well as his) is in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our provider and sustainer. It’s only because of His enabling and blessing that we are presently okay financially and physically able to generate income. Yet, we are called to stewardship of our resources and to plan with the future in mind as Proverbs 6:6-8 says. “Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.” 

God has entrusted each one of us (all persons) with the capacity to work hard to provide for our families. Although financial status may vary, we all have God-given talents and abilities that we can utilize. Furthermore, Proverbs 12:11 wisely explains, “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”

1 Timothy 5:8 puts it very seriously, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

I talked to a taxi driver the other day and he may not have had the same opportunities available to him that Edric and I did growing up but he embraced the same perspective about being responsible for one’s own family. He was doing his best to think about the future needs of his children, especially because he got into an accident where he almost lost his life. 

Every sensible person understands that future health and well-being are not guaranteed. We might not all make decisions accordingly but wealth isn’t forever and unprecedented circumstances such as losses come upon all of us. Therefore we need to do what is within our control. This is the intent behind the “love letter” principle — an act of foresight that anticipates the brevity of life, reaffirms the love for family and the values shared by family, and safeguards the financial well-being of one’s spouse and kids. 

Comments

  1. Chie Castillo says:

    Thank you for this write up! It inspires me to be more passionate about my profession as an Insurance Advisor, helping people to Failproof their future financial needs. Truly those who love their families and are responsible think and plan ahead, esp the primary income earner. God has given us all the capacity to earn and produce wealth and He desires that we will be good stewards of all the talents that He gave. May God continuously guide Edric and your entire household with wisdom and discernment as you together plan ahead and entrust your all to the Lord Jesus.
    Reading your every article is always a blessing!
    God bless you more!

  2. Jo poquiz says:

    Good day Joy! Can you suggest or recommend some investments that me and my husband can apply to our family, hes the only one working and we have one child. Thanks in advance. You are blessed! Thanks for inspiring me as a mom.

    • Jennifer Cristobal says:

      Hi Jo, pls see my comment for ideas on what can help prepare the family in the event of someone, esp. the breadwinner passing away. Pls excuse the typo errors too. Can’t seem to edit anymore. Thanks!

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Please read Jennifer Cristobal’s comment. She suggests some very wise options 🙂

  3. Hi Joy! This is a good article and I know you mean well to all its readers but I would like to respectfully share some truths according to the Bible as it sets up some unnecessary precedence of all sorts of fears.

    In the beginning you mentioned “when the Lord prematurely takes him”. The Bible states that in Psalms 90:10 that the years of our lives are seventy and if we are strong, eighty. That is of course if we are living our lives with the knowledge and with accordance to the truth of the Word. This is for another discussion.

    Furthermore, James 1:17 says every good and perfect gift comes from above so Him taking away anyone prematurely is clearly not His doing.

    If I had not known these truths I would have been terrified of what might happen should God ‘prematurely takes me’.

    But then again I totally agree with you about a man should be providing for his family and their future. A good man leaves inheritance for his children’s children -Prov 13:22

    Declaring unprecedented blessing over your life in Jesus name.

    Respectfully,
    Sam

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Oh I see what you mean by the wording of “prematurely” as though he is taken away outside of the plan of God. I will edit the wording. That’s not what I meant 😊 Thank you!!!

  4. Jennifer Cristobal says:

    Thanks for this article. Death is something that people shy away from talking about, this the realities people are faced when it does happen becomes a very stressful surprise to the family especially if the one who passes away is the breadwinner. The “”Love Letter” simply puts things in order rather than leaving the loved ones in chaos. It is best of the the breadwinner has thought of the future and has made sure that his family will be able to survive and flourish even even in his/her absence. This may be in the form of life insurance, education plans, assets like real estate, stocks, Mutual Fund or UITF investments, etc. One thing that the insurance benefits provide for is ithe availability of the funds when all assets including money in the bank are “frozen” by the government until the estate tax for all these assets are paid. Anyone who has someone financially dependent on them should plan for and think of these things.

  5. Great article Joy,,,
    Hilda-Kenya

  6. Thanks for this article. God bless your family more! This just reminds me of a previous question in my mind…which form of investment will truly assure return, in case the need arises? Alam ko po may risk lahat ng investment. Bka you have tips to share po. Thanks again

    • Chie Castillo says:

      Hi Ms Imelda,
      If you will allow me to share with you Personalized Financial Planning (no pressure), I can show you what I do as Financial Planner and how I prepare for my family too.
      I started with our Health Fund – a ready fund in case of Critical Conditions for me and my husband and my two young sons, also a separate Life Insurances – an income protection for their expenses (last paycheck that would support them, just in case) and a Retirement Funding for our golden years. Pray for a financial advisor who will discuss these to you objectively and based on your needs and capacity.

  7. I am always blessed everytime I got to read your blogs. God always used it to teach me valuable lessons in my own walk with God.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your family’s own preparation through your husband Edric , how he is ensuring that financial needs of the family is addressed just incase something happens .
    How I wish also that I have learned financial management earlier in my life especially in the area of investment at an earlier age, nevertheless I am grateful to God that He is faithful in everyways.
    Can’t wait to shate this to my nephews, nieces , members of our family and friends.
    Pray this article will bless them , learn and pick up good principles in planning as God wanted them to learn.
    God bless you more abundantly, more than you can ever ask and imagine.

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