“Prepared parents are better parents.” -Jay Gabrani
Life is full of uncertainties and we do not want to be left without hope and help when these uncertainties come. Wise people do well to prepare. In this episode, Art interviews Jay Gabrani, Founder of Prepared Fathers, to expound on the subject of financial preparedness. Jay shares his heartbreaking story and how this opened his eyes to the importance of preparedness, especially when there are kids involved. Like Jay, we all face stormy days, days that seem unending and hopeless. But his story can motivate us to see our situation in a better angle. It can be just a knockdown and not a knockout, a molehill and not a mountain. But these facts can change depending on how prepared and equipped we are. If you think you’re prepared enough, tune in and see if you truly are. Good parents tell their children to prepare; better parents show them how.
Listen to the podcast here:
03:49 Being My Own Boss
05:33 The Sabbatical
09:09 Grieving Process
14:19 Financial Preparedness
20:32 A Good Insurance Can Save People
27:50 Numbness To The Outside World
34:32 There Is Always Hope
39:56 Molehills And Mountains
42:07 Knockdown Not Knockout
A good insurance is a good assurance. Join @myexpectation and Jay Gabrani on how to be thoroughly prepared for the hard times. #expectation #grieve #preparedness #goodinsurance #finances #hope #life Click To Tweet
10:20 “Good things happen in life. Bad things happen in life. The only thing you control is how you react to any of it.” -Jay Gabrani
19:42 “Prepared parents are better parents.” -Jay Gabrani
19:58 “Insurance can become a real lifesaver for some families.” – Art Costello
31:42 “Life is there to be lived.” – Jay Gabrani
33:17 “Every event in our life, there’s a purpose in it.” – Art Costello
39:03 “There is always hope. There is always, always something lying ahead.” – Art Costello
42:10 “The whole experience was a knockdown, but it wasn’t a knockout.” – Jay Gabrani
After his first child was born in 2005, Jay Gabrani jumped into the world of real estate investing. Despite several challenges along the way, he built a multiple seven-figure real estate portfolio. That portfolio afforded him a multi-year sabbatical to deal with a heartbreaking personal tragedy when his wife passed away in 2014. This experience led Jay to reevaluate the purpose of his life. Before his wife passed away, Jay thought he was financially prepared. After going through the experience of being the executor of his wife’s estate, he realized he wasn’t. Today, Jay makes an impact on raising his three children and empowering fathers to secure their family’s financial future as the Founder of Prepared Fathers. He achieves this through his one-on-one and group coaching programs and his daily podcast A Minute With Jay. He is a frequent podcast guest and does a limited number of speaking engagements.
Art Costello: Welcome to the Shower Epiphanies Podcast. Today I am honored to have Jay Gabrani on my show. Jay, despite many challenges in his life, has built a Multi 7 Figure Real-Estate Portfolio that helped him take a multi-year sabbatical to deal with heartbreaking personal tragedy when his wife passed away in 2014. This experience led Jay to re-evaluate the purpose of his life while taking the multi-year sabbatical. Before his wife passed away, Jay thought he was financially prepared. After going through the experience of being the executor of his wife’s estate, he realized he wasn’t. Today, Jay makes an impact raising his three children and empowering fathers to secure their family’s financial future as the founder of Prepared Fathers. He achieves this through his one-on-one and group coaching programs and his daily podcast, A Minute with Jay. He is a frequent podcast guest and does a limited number of speaking engagements. Welcome to the show, Jay.
Jay Gabrani: Great to be with you, Art, happy to be here.
Art Costello: It is my honor to have you here. I’ve known you for over a year and your story has always moved me. Can you take the audience through your journey?
Jay Gabrani: Certainly. Certainly. So basically a single father, as you mentioned, three children, three wonderful children, born and raised Toronto. I’ll tell you a little story about when I was a teenager that will give people a good idea of who I am. I took a family trip to India, and it was there I got exposed to my grandfather’s business for the first time. I had never had any exposure to business. I was thrilled by it all. I came back from that trip and told my parents: “I’ll never work for anyone after 25, that I wanted to be a businessman.” And they rolled their eyes a little bit and said: “Go get an education.” Went and did that, did my accounting degree, and left my last job ever over 20 plus years ago, the day before my 25th birthday. So I’ve been an entrepreneur ever since and married 2004, have three kids, busy, busy, busy, real estate investing business. I had to take a four year sabbatical back in 2014 and decided that I wanted to come back to the business world late in 2018 and make an impact. I chose the thing that you mentioned, right? Setting up Prepared Fathers and just empowering fathers financially. So we’ll get into it, I’m sure. But that’s kind of who I am and what I’m about.
Art Costello: One of the really cool things that I like about you is that I know enough about the Indian culture, that education is very, very important, and families plan their children’s futures for them. So for you to take that journey and step away from what maybe your family had planned or your parents had planned for you was a big step for you, wasn’t it?
Jay Gabrani: Massive. And the name of your show is like the whole expectation beside it. You can imagine that my mother after me going through four years of university and going through all the professional exams, I basically told her a few months later that, yeah, I’m leaving it all. Yeah, it was tough to deal with at a young age.
Art Costello: Most people don’t have the fortitude to challenge their folks in that realm, and for you to do that as a big step. So when you left, what were your feelings? How were you feeling about it? Were you afraid? Did you have fear?
Jay Gabrani: No, I actually was totally joyful the last day, like the last day of my employment, the day before my 25th birthday. It was one of those things where I realized, and you’ve got to understand, this was in 1996, okay, so there was still no internet, there were no cell phones, but I loved the idea of business, I love the idea of being my own boss. And you mentioned it, it’s very tough to go against your parents who’ve conditioned you your whole life, education, education, education, be a professional, be a professional, that’s been hammered into your head. But I rail, I recognized, I knew at a very young age that I didn’t want to do it. I did it to make them happy. I did it to them, or for them, but at the end of the day, I’m happy I went through it. I have friends from then, I have great experiences, but I just knew that that world was not for me. So no, I was not upset, I was looking forward to it. And you got to understand, over the last 20 plus years, lots of ups, lots of downs, but at least I knew that it was kinda in my grasp, I had a lot more control than if I had a career. That’s the way I looked at it. I always found working for someone else to be potentially risky for me. So yeah, I did not feel that way. I felt more like, how’s my business gonna do? And how am I going to do it? Then being worried about leaving my education and mine, I’m setting my parents.
Art Costello: And even that’s a great point because you were focused on what you were going to do and not looking back. Because a lot of people look back and question, did they do the right thing? And they get so hung up in that, that they stop really moving forward. So you move forward through that, and then you have to take a sabbatical.
Jay Gabrani: Yes. Yes. So again, I’m going to start this by just letting your audience know that I value genuineness, and it’s very high, it’s in my top five. And I know that people out there, I do, you do, your audience does, everyone has their own set of problems and issues. So this is what happened. I mentioned, got married 2004, three kids very quickly, 2005, 2007, 2009 at the same time. And ours was a very traditional household. I was more responsible for kind of the outside stuff, the economics, the business, real estate, all that. And my wife was super, super busy handling three kids and the household. So everything was going great. Like, young family, but we were happy, things were going okay. But basically Art, in 2011, my wife had an unfortunate little slip and fall. She wrenched her back. The next day, she went to the doctor and he prescribed her Oxycontin’s. They are massively addictive painkillers, negative side effects. And when you basically combine this, she developed unfortunately, over the next three years, she developed an addiction to these pills and it basically became, to a point where you put the pills there with the addiction, and you also add in just kind of the postpartum depression, lots of young kids, that type of thing. It was a really bad mix. It was bad, like multiple cocktails. Me as a husband, I totally uneducated in this, didn’t know how to handle it. Someone who you love going through addiction, going through depression. It was, let’s just say a really, really bad scene. And in late 2014, she made a decision that she didn’t want to be here anymore. So for me to say that, basically, I couldn’t possibly talk to you about all the emotions and everything that go into that, but that was the reason for the sabbatical is that I needed to readjust, reinvent, and understand that, you know what, this is now my life. Overnight, I became a single father. My children were five, seven, and nine at the time.
So yeah, I just had to inwardly focus. I had a business running at the time, a mobile marketing agency. I called all my clients, I shut it all down. And thankfully, because of some steps she and I had taken to build up real estate, I was able to use real estate, my portfolio to support me financially through those four years while I basically just emotionally just healed, helped my children adjust, et cetera. So that was the reason for the sabbatical. Wouldn’t wish it upon anyone to go through that experience. But I find that I share these experiences because I’m hoping somewhere down the road someone can come up to me years later and say, you know what, Jay, I heard you on Art’s podcast, and I had some of those thoughts that your wife had. But after hearing your story, then it changed. Or a husband whose wife might be going through something like this. Jay, I heard what you said and I made the steps to help her. Like something along those lines is why I share it, and yeah, that’s why Prepared Fathers ultimately was born. It was all because of that experience and what ultimately came of it.
Art Costello: Yeah, I can identify with what you went through, but for a different reason because I lost my wife to ovarian cancer. And for me, it was a three year journey to get back on track, and it’s okay to grieve, and we need to take time to grieve.
Jay Gabrani: I agree. You need to give yourself lots of time, lots of time.
Art Costello: They say the grieving process can be anywhere from three to six years to grieve. It’s different for everybody.
Jay Gabrani: Yeah. Four years, yep, makes sense. I intended it, maybe when I started, I thought it might be a year, but then as I was going through it, I realized I’m not ready. I’m not ready yet to go and develop a business, and deal with customers. My children still needed me, and quite honestly, I still needed time. So at the end of the day, it was family first. That’s my number one value, family. My children mean everything to me. It just wasn’t the right time, it ended up taking another three years on top. But yeah, happy that I did take that time, and now that I’m back in the business world, et cetera, I feel a lot better about myself. My children are doing great, and still spend a lot of time with them. I still pick them up and drop them off every day. So yeah, life has been redesigned for what they need from me and what I wanted to do.
Art Costello: How are they with it?
Jay Gabrani: Yeah, I mean, the seven and the nine year olds, for whatever reasons, they were able to handle it. When I say handle it, obviously they went through lots of stuff, but there’s one lesson I teach all my kids when that experience happened. I said to them: “Good things happen in life. Bad things happen in life. The only thing you control is how you react to any of it.” So obviously for them to hear such a thing at such a young age, it’s very tough to process. But for whatever reason, the older two did process it quite nicely and adjusted, they went through their tough times, but they didn’t have any outlash at school, or things, episodes, or whatever, they handled it. My youngest, she was five. And for her, it wasn’t that she was like reacting or rebelling of any sorts, she just didn’t understand. It was like, well, mama was here. Oh, where’s mama now? When’s mama coming back? It was just a lot more difficult to explain to her and to go through the process with her. So I actually spent a lot of time with her, to make sure that she’s comfortable, she’s okay, so yeah, maybe the youngest one had a little more difficulty comprehending all of it. But thankfully, again, the reason why I take the sabbatical is so that I can be there to pick them up every day, I can be there to drop them off every day. And then when we’re home, I really stay home. I don’t go out very much. I’m home with them, so it’s, yeah, it’s just a lot of family time and we work through it together.“Good things happen in life. Bad things happen in life. The only thing you control is how you react to any of it.” -Jay Gabrani Click To Tweet
Art Costello: They’re lucky to have you, because of you having that commitment to them. Because if they didn’t, they would feel the loss much greater, I think. When you are there, committed and engaged with your children, it makes a huge difference. I was older, I mean, when my wife passed away, she was 56 and I was 60, and our children were grown. And even our children being grown, I mean, they had their moments of missing their mother and all that thing, and it’s a jolt.
Jay Gabrani: Oh, my goodness. Literally, life changes drastically overnight.
Art Costello: Yup. One of the things that I admire with you is that you were able and smart enough to prepare. When I lost Vicky, for me, I gave up my business that I had for 35 years. I mean, I literally turned it over to the employees, and even though I had trained them well, when they didn’t have, I was very engaged in my business, and training, and having people cross train to take people’s jobs, but I never trained anybody to take my job.
Jay Gabrani: Of course.
Art Costello: So when I had to step away from it, they lost that, the business kind of, I don’t want to say it, it just didn’t function at the high level that it did when I was there. But I didn’t care, I wasn’t focused on that because I was focused on Vicky, and I took care of her in the three years that she was ill until she passed away.
Jay Gabrani: That’s wonderful.
Art Costello: I admired that you were able to financially prepare it, because I had to sell everything, and I literally started over again after paying all the medical bills.
Jay Gabrani: Yes, I would understand that, that would be quite hefty. Let’s put it this way, when I started, my first child, my son was born in 2005, up until that point I didn’t own any real estate, I was in business already. But when I held him Art, then I realized I was like, Oh, I’m no longer a bachelor, I’m no longer childless. The first day I held him, I realized something had changed. So I started back in 2005 building a real estate portfolio. But I assure you, you know like how you go through vision boards and you put down goals and all that stuff. I assure you that when I was doing those exercises back then, never once did I say, I’m building this real estate portfolio in case my wife passes away. But that’s exactly what ended up happening. So yes, I encourage people, it’s now my kind of, that’s the drum that I beat. Start looking at these things, getting prepared ahead of time because whoever you are, life will throw a curveball at you, that is assured. We don’t know when it comes, we don’t know when it happens, et cetera, and we don’t know the magnitude of it, but my example was probably the worst one or the heaviest magnitude you can have, loss of a spouse. But then there’s several other ones, maybe loss of a job, maybe a divorce, there’s other curve balls that you gotta be prepared for. So that’s kind of what I encourage people to do.
Art Costello: Can you tell us what that looks like? How have you helped people financially prepare? How do you guide them?
Jay Gabrani: Sure. So I think a lot of people think that it’s about how much money you make, and it’s great, that’s one aspect of it. But as an example, I know people who make 45,000 a year and managed to save like $10,000 a year. I know people who make 200 grand a year, but they somehow managed to spend 250. Okay, so it’s not how much money you make, that is a part of it, but it’s also a couple of other important aspects. One is your paperwork. Is it all kind of in some sort of order? Do you have a will? Do you have an executor of that will? Do you have a reasonable idea of what you own, and what you owe, like mortgages and debt? Just having some idea on a family level what those numbers look like, and having it all, most importantly, having it all in one place. Your paperwork and the necessary paperwork. We talked to people about that. And then aside with assets, that has to do with how much money you make? How much money do you save? How much money do you keep? The third thing is conversations. So we have paperwork, assets and conversations. And conversations really, do your most important stakeholders have an idea of your financial preparation set up. So in our cases when we were married, you’re a key stakeholder as your spouse. The key stakeholder is an executor of your estate, maybe in a state’s lawyer, and maybe some adult children. These are the types of folks that, if something happens to you, then they would know what to do. They would know, those are the conversations that have to be had. Even though sometimes they’re not comfortable, but can you imagine not having those conversations and something happens to you then now they have an extra layer of stress, not only dealing with whatever happens, but now the financial side of it is always a mess. And let’s just say a very starter quick win for everyone Art, if you own assets of any sort, a piece of property, some stocks, a pension plan, whatever, any asset of any sort, and you have a child, please do yourself a favor and get a will. Even if it’s something starter that you do online, whatever. At least get something down on paper and get that looked after because I can assure you, your family will go through a much tougher time if you don’t have something like that and something happens. So that’s a quick win for people.
Art Costello: I don’t know about Canadian Tax Law, but in the States, capital gains, all the different taxes they have here can really eat it up. And do you recommend a trust?
Jay Gabrani: You know what, those answers are usually much more, if you ask a certified accountant that question, he’ll say, it depends. So I did go to accounting school, I no longer have that designation, but I would give the same answer. It really depends on the situation. I know that in certain cases, trusts are fantastic. Maybe larger families, lots of children, lots of assets, a trust tends to work a lot better. But if you’re just out there, you’re doing your thing, you work, you support your family, you love your family, maybe you don’t have tons of assets, that’s fine. I think a will is probably what you’re looking at. And for people who slightly might be budget conscious, then yeah, go online. Here’s what I’ll recommend, go online, do the template thing, print it out, and at least let a lawyer run their eyes over it as opposed to going to the lawyer. If you are not as budget conscious, then go directly to the lawyer. The lawyer is going to ask you to do the same things that the online people can ask you to do. Organize your paperwork, realize what you have, but you can do it either way. It’s just a step, your children are worth it, you don’t want to be the type of person that won’t look after these things and be negligent about it. And let’s hope nothing happens for a long, long, long time, that’d be great.
Art Costello: Absolutely.
Jay Gabrani: But we can’t control some of these things, right? So it’s better to be prepared. My little saying is “prepared fathers are better fathers.” In this case, “prepared parents are better parents.” Automatically, whatever your belief systems about money, quite frankly, it doesn’t even matter. You have children, you have assets, the laws are the laws. A will is just going to do a lot of good for you so start there.“Prepared parents are better parents.” -Jay Gabrani Click To Tweet
Art Costello: In the world that we live in now, insurance can become a real lifesaver for some families. And even if you’re not extremely wealthy and all that, because a lot of people think life insurance is for wealthy people. But if you buy it young, you can get some pretty good different levels of not only whole life but there’s a term that you can mix with it and all kinds of different variations. And my suggestion was, “always get it while you’re young, because when you get older, you can’t afford it, it becomes extremely expensive.”“Insurance can become a real lifesaver for some families.” - Art Costello Click To Tweet
Jay Gabrani: Definitely. So I’ll add to that, basically, if you are a parent out there, and let’s say you are the sole breadwinner in your household, man or woman, does not matter, and you have children, and you have assets, especially real estate asset, maybe the house that you and your family live in, which is probably the most important asset, then what I’d recommend is you get enough life insurance, atleast number wise that would pay off that mortgage, whatever the mortgages, PLUS an amount every year for your kids, whatever ages they’re at, until they reach 25. So an example would be, let’s say you have one child, the child is eight years old, so that means there’s 17 years left until they turn 25, you want to give them a fixed amount of money every year, let’s say 20 grand a year, they need to just live, so at that 18 years times the 20 grand a year, you want 360,000. But now let’s also say the house you live in has a mortgage of, I don’t know, whatever, 200,000, at a very minimum, the term life insurance you’re looking for, you want to at least have 360 plus the mortgage, 560, this way if something happens to you as the sole breadwinner, at a very minimum, that’s just a minimum, you have money for your children, you may want to add another amount there for your spouse. By the way, that’s actually very prudent. Maybe 40 grand a year for your spouse and add that up as well. So the policy that you get for term should cover that. The other one whole life, you know what? Yes, it’s fantastic when you start young. It’s actually an asset that you can build over time, but a discussion of that is rather technical and I highly recommend that people get in touch with an insurance broker, someone who specializes in family insurance. And let’s also add not only to just talk about life insurance, ask about disability insurance, some sort of versions of health insurance. Because if you’re the sole breadwinner, you want to ask your broker what would be involved in that. Because if something, let’s say it’s not a death, let’s say you broke your leg as an example. You needed to be in the hospital for whatever, eight weeks, 12 weeks, you couldn’t work. Well, you need some disability type insurance in these cases. Sometimes the government does that, but as we move forward in the future, I encourage people to rely less and less on the government and start preparing these things yourself, because the government can easily, one day just say, we don’t have the money, and that’s that. So I caution people against that. Please do kind of look after this yourself. And you said it earlier, this does not have to be overly expensive, but the right broker will definitely lead you down the right path.
Art Costello: Yeah. And there’s just so many different variations. And I think that that’s what confuses people sometimes because they’re bombarded with so many different ideas about it.
Jay Gabrani: It is, very much.
Art Costello: But it’s wise, the habit, that’s for sure.
Jay Gabrani: And by the way, I didn’t, okay. So it’s a massive mistake that I made. I had considered it, I had had discussions about it, but at the time I was in my late 30’s, my wife was in her late 30’s, and I was like, well, we’re pretty healthy, everything’s okay, and I shunned it. But I was also building a real estate portfolio, so the real estate portfolio turned out to be my life insurance, but I would have had to sell it if I was paying those premiums. So it’s a massive mistake I made. I never imagined my wife would pass away so young, she was 42. So I never even fathom, but then when it did happen, I recognized, wow, I don’t have anything. Maybe I would have had 500,000 extra, maybe a million extra, whatever the policy is that I got, so I didn’t, and I kind of, yeah, so I went through that.
Art Costello: What happened with me is because I was the breadwinner and I own my own business and everything, we had the insurance on me and we didn’t have any on her. But I will tell you what we did have that ended up biting me in the behind. We had a cancer policy on her, on both of us. We had cancer policies. Unfortunately, we paid into a policy that was absolutely no good. The company that had sold us that policy, we actually took premiums, and when defunct, we have no idea where the money kept going. We don’t know if it went to the agent or what happened, but we thought we had cancer insurance and we ended up not having it, which is a blow. We had medical insurance, but what people need to understand about medical insurances, there’s maxes on those medical insurance.
Jay Gabrani: Oh, yes, yes. And the cost, you reach those maxes very fast.
Art Costello: Oh, golly.
Jay Gabrani: My goodness gracious.
Art Costello: We maxed out a million dollar policy little bit over a year.
Jay Gabrani: Yeah. Not a lot of time.
Art Costello: Well, I mean, there’s medicine that she was taking once a week, so four weeks. One of them was $8,000 for an injection, the other one was $7,000.
Jay Gabrani: Wow.
Art Costello: So we had $15,000 a week that went out to those two meds and it eats up stuff fast. So we went on what’s called the Texas High Risk Plan, which I actually thank that that was available. The cost to have just her on that. I had dropped all the health insurance on myself and just had her because the cost was $1,200 a month, just to have her, but it covered another million. And then it went out well. And then after that, I was responsible for rest at night, I paid through the nose. Because the other part is, if you don’t protect your assets, and hospitals, and doctors know you have assets, they get very greedy.
Jay Gabrani: Very much so.
Art Costello: And you need to protect yourself on these things. So there’s a lot of really complicated things about it, and that’s what I love about what you’re doing. You help people maneuver the minefield. And a lot of times, I know after when my wife passed away, I could not tell you who was at the funeral, I went into such a blank.
Jay Gabrani: Yup. Numbness.
Art Costello: That’s the word I was looking for, numb. I was numb for six months. I cannot tell you to this day what I did, what I did.
Jay Gabrani: Totally with you.
Art Costello: And then I can’t imagine with you having children to take care of on top of it.
Jay Gabrani: I felt the same numbness to the outside worlds. I’m sure I came across sometimes numb to them as well, but I, again, I was always around so they knew that I would have my moments where things were a little tougher. But yeah, to the outside world is completely numb. I remember there were hundreds of people who either at the funeral or social media, they reached out, I don’t remember what anybody said. Like it’s all a blur, all numbness. I know that they were there, but yeah, there was no, the processing was not working in the brain, it was in a different direction.
Art Costello: Yeah, and that’s one of the things that I wanted to bring up first people, I know it’s kind of odd to think about this, and thinking back, I was so tied up, Vicky’s twin sister and her younger sister were here for the funeral in Texas. Her sister, one was in New Jersey and one was in Oregon, and they had been here the last week of Vicky’s life. So they were anxious to get home to their families so they wanted a funeral very quickly. And we had a very quickly, which didn’t leave us, because she died on a Friday night at midnight and we had the funeral on Monday. And just to get it all planned and prepared, and we were somewhat prepared in it. But you know, the one thing that I didn’t bring to her funeral that I wished I had? A guest book, because I would have been able to look back and see who was there and thank them and everything, and I couldn’t do it because I forgot all about a guest book. I wasn’t thinking about guests, I wasn’t thinking. The other part of it that I want to bring up for people that are listening to this is, please after the funeral, remember to go and visit the spouse that has survived. I was pretty much left alone and it was the worst thing, because people didn’t know how to approach me. They didn’t have a talk to me. And so they left me alone and I became, I had that feeling of being abandoned.
Jay Gabrani: Yes.
Art Costello: And it’s a terrible feeling when there’s so much, and I couldn’t figure out where people were. I just couldn’t figure,
Jay Gabrani: I found the same thing, for me it was about a week to 10 days after the funeral, at that point everyone was around, both sides of the family were around, out of town, relatives were around, lots of support, help with the kids. And then it seemed like, yeah, seven to 10 days later/after everyone had to get back to their life. And yes, you are left alone. I totally relate. I went to the exact same thing. But yeah, I mean, we just get through it, right? That’s what life is.
Art Costello: Yeah. And I think that what I’m trying to say is people need to prepare for it, but how do you prepare for the unexpected?
Jay Gabrani: It’s getting ready.
Art Costello: Yup, the only thing you can do is be ready in your head. And I often wonder about people who lose people in car accidents and such a sudden event. It’s got to be–
Jay Gabrani: Devastating.
Art Costello: And I think you experienced it because it was so sudden, your wife leaving you like that.
Jay Gabrani: Yes. Never expected. Knowing she was going through issues, knowing she was going through problems, but never expected that she would take that final step. So yeah, the shock was there, it was overnight, wow. Last night she was here, I was talking to her, and this morning she’s not here. So yeah, again, I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody, it was, you know.
Art Costello: It’s not something that you would want anyone to ever experience.
Jay Gabrani: That’s right. That’s right.
Art Costello: But you’ve moved through it.
Jay Gabrani: It’s now, right? That was in late 2014, so we’re several years later, and yes, life is there to be lived. I still, I decided that I’m going to take that experience. I was told, I don’t remember who told it to me, but if you can somehow make the worst day of your life or the most painful experience of your life, if you can somehow turn it around and talk about it, and that way it can help other people, then that event in that circumstance is not in vain. So I believe that and that’s why I talk about it. And I said, it has nothing to do with Prepared Fathers, there’s nothing to do with coaching, it just has to do with humanity, and compassion that I already know. I know people listening to this right now, themselves or someone in their family is going through a very difficult time, I know that. I don’t know who you are, but I’m hoping that listening to this, and again, I want to thank Art for bringing me on here and asking these great questions. It is one of these things where, reach out please. That’s the big mistake I made. I thought, again, I was immature in that respect as a husband, I did not have the maturity level to handle a spouse who was suffering through addiction and depression. I would say let’s go and get some help, go see maybe a psychologist, psychiatrist. She didn’t want to go and I didn’t insist, and maybe I just should have insisted, and maybe she would still be here, and of course then I wasn’t being as supportive. Why are you always lying down? The kids need you and all that stuff. Like I was not good. So it’s one of those things that, yeah, it’s kind of therapeutic for me as well to talk about it, because if I can help and that’s great, it’s fantastic.“Life is there to be lived.” - Jay Gabrani Click To Tweet
Art Costello: Yeah. Because out of every event in our life, there’s a purpose in it. And that purpose sometimes, we can’t see when we’re going through it, but when we come out on the other side of it and we start looking back, and we start understanding and processing it, we could reach out to other people and help them. When I was a young mental health counselor, I had an experience with a patient. He had been in the facility that I was working at and he came, he had been discharged, he was very depressed and everything, and he had been discharged, and he had been discharged probably three, four months before. But him and I have a great relationship. When he was there, him and I were able to talk and everything. He came one night, I always worked, I was going to school and working and doing all kinds, so I always worked the 3 to 11 shift at the hospital and he came about seven o’clock one night and said: “Can you talk to me? I want to thank you for all the help you’ve given me and you’ve made such a difference in my life and all of these things.” Just really saying a lot of thank you’s to me about how I helped him. And I said to him: “You know, you’re a great person and I’ve really enjoyed being able to help you. Hope it’s helped you.” And he left. He went to the college where he was, and he took a 45, put it in his mouth and he blew his head off that night.“Every event in our life, there's a purpose in it.” - Art Costello Click To Tweet
Jay Gabrani: Yes, I had a feeling that’s where the story was going.
Art Costello: And I blamed myself for not seeing the signs, it’s so difficult even as a trained person to see the signs because somebody who is truly, I guess determined to end it, they’re going to do it. They’re going to make that attempt. Yeah.
Jay Gabrani: I didn’t realize it until after, Art, I went back and looked at my wife’s laptop. I had no idea she had been researching this. It was like, Oh, my goodness, YouTube video after YouTube video, site after site, how to do it, what to do, it was unbelievable and I had no clue. None, whatsoever.
Art Costello: Well, really even trained people have hard time seeing the signs, but I have become hypervigilant to anybody that says to me, that everything is going great and all that, and it’s hard sometimes because people have great things happen in life and they want to tell you about them. But if you’ve got this event that’s happened to you like that, it just really puts a different light on it. One of the things, I just had a conversation with a client and we were talking about suicide, they told me, this is what their words were: “I will commit suicide when I lose all hope.” And I said: “What can we do to give you hope? What can you do? Because I can’t give you hope, that has to come from within you. What I can help you do is find hope. I can help guide you to finding hope.”
Jay Gabrani: Right.
Art Costello: So we’ve been having long discussions about hope, and faith, and those things that build people up. But I thought it was very interesting because, I wonder if that’s the key, when people lose total hope, because I don’t think it’s a cowardly act to commit suicide.
Jay Gabrani: Right.
Art Costello: I think it takes one hell of a brave strong person because I couldn’t do it. I mean, it’s just in my makeup because I always have hope. There’s a better thing. But when you have, and you’re talking about your wife’s addictions and that depression, postpartum depression, I wonder, I always wonder, was it a lack of hope? Or was it the depression overcomes all of the good things that, I mean, when you have three young children and a husband that’s doing well and all those things, you would find it almost impossible to lose hope.
Jay Gabrani: I agree.
Art Costello: I don’t know, I’m just kicking around all these ideas in my head because if there’s one thing you and I can tell somebody who’s not in a place of hope and is thinking about committing the act of suicide, I hope that we’ve said something here that has triggered them to realize that there is always hope. There is always, always something lying ahead. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next week, it may not be next year.“There is always hope. There is always, always something lying ahead.” - Art Costello Click To Tweet
Jay Gabrani: That’s right.
Art Costello: We don’t know when it will come, but I always believe that there’s goodness coming to us out there, and that’s what keeps us going.
Jay Gabrani: I agree. If you’re a good person, the universe returns good things to you. I do believe that we’ve done it in a big way.
Art Costello: I don’t know where to even go from here because we’ve done some really deep, deep soul searching here, and talking about both of our situations and what’s happened. And a way to end it out is I think, can you give us any words of wisdom that you have?
Jay Gabrani: Sure. I’ll give you the lessons that I think I’ve set in since my wife’s passing, some things are mole-hills, other things are mountains. I used to get upset over things like, silly, silly things now. Like not being invited to a certain party or a political situation, taking sides and getting very emotionally charged about it, and not doing as well as I wanted in business or whatever, then I realized, I used to make those a big deal. And then when I went through my wife’s passing, then I realized, Oh, man, that was the big deal, that was the mountain. All the other stuff was just mole-hills. So if you go through these things, ask yourself whatever you’re experiencing that’s making you feel bad, ask yourself, is this a mole-hill? Or is it a mountain? If it’s a mole-hill, put it to the side. Spend your time, your energy, your money, your focus on dealing with your mountains, that is one piece of advice. And the second one is, especially people who may be going through a little bit of time, I know this is weird, but be good to yourself. Like the one thing I said, hundreds of people talk to me at the funeral and social media after and I don’t remember anything. There is one thing I remember one person said and he said: “Jay, it’s going to be very difficult obviously for you emotionally over the next little while, but please be good to yourself because your kids need you to be good to yourself.” So I was like, okay, I’d never really heard it that way before, but that is something that I took home and realize that, yeah, it’s a really, really big deal. So those couple of things right away, mole-hills over mountains, and yeah, just really kind of figure out the important things in your life and spend your time dealing with those. I think that would be a pretty nice lesson to learn.
Art Costello: Yeah, I think those are really wise words of wisdom, and my thought was not only when you’re sorting through the mole-hill and the mountains. When you’re dealing with the mountains and you have to take care of your children, like you said, they become so important. They are so important that it keeps you engaged with them and helps you move through the process of grieving because you can’t, you can’t not take care of your children.
Jay Gabrani: I agree. I just have a saying that that whole experience was a knockdown, but it wasn’t a knockout. And it wasn’t a knockout because of those three kids. So yeah, whatever strength, or desire, or ambition, or hope, whatever it is you need to find, yes, I suggest you look there at your children. You can usually find it right there. Like when he was born that first day, the desire to build real estate came into my body that day. My wife passed away, I thought everything had left my body. But then as I was recovering, and mourning, and going through that sabbatical every day, I was able to wake up and see my children. So they gave me hope, they gave me the reason to keep pushing forward, to not spend all day in bed and just do nothing, I wanted to do stuff, I will still want it to be there for them, I still want to be productive, even though it wasn’t in a business environment. It could have been, maybe I was learning extra things, or reading, or exercising more, whatever. Just be good to yourself. Those are the things that are really, truly, truly important, not some of the other things that we talk about everyday in life that really are not a big deal. The new overall scheme of things.“The whole experience was a knockdown, but it wasn't a knockout.” - Jay Gabrani Click To Tweet
Art Costello: Yeah, I think an event like losing a spouse or those kinds of events really bring to light in us what is important. And I think you’ve left us with some really wise, beautiful words. And I think that you’ve been a huge blessing to my audience. And I know you’re a huge blessing to me because you bring a perspective of hope and faith that is huge. And I’m so thankful that you were able to be on this show and share that because it’s probably one of the most deep shows that I’ve done even though we talked a lot on the show about, this is very personal. This is very personal when you lose spouses. So I want to thank you. It’s been an honor. You know that I’m always here for you.
Jay Gabrani: Appreciate that.
Art Costello: I’m going to encourage the audience, where can they reach you? How can they find you?
Jay Gabrani: Yes.
Art Costello: Can you tell us your website, your social media, any of those things?
Jay Gabrani: Sure. Let’s see here, so first of all, I wanted to provide your audience with a gift. You asked me a question earlier, what are the kinds of things, the basics of financial preparation. So that we talked about that conversation assets, paperwork. So there’s a free checklist, I’d like the audience please to go to www.preparedfathers.com/art, that way you can download that checklist for free. Please read it, it’ll give you the beginner steps of how to get financially prepared, how to start looking after the fact that you have assets, the fact that you have children, and to start getting a handle on all these things and make some shortcuts, so that’s www.preparedfathers.com/art. If people would like to reach me, then it’s a firstname.lastname@example.org is my email. And Prepared Fathers itself has got the Facebook, Facebook channels, Instagram, I don’t know all of the things, it’s at the top of my head, but I think email for those who’d like to reach out and I see that, then email is the best way. Social media, you know what? My team is mainly monitoring that and they bring to me the, let’s say the big deals or the big comments, so whatever. Either way is fine, whatever you’re comfortable with, but at the end of the day, please go download that free resource. That’s what I want people to walk away with, and that way they get thinking about it, and when they think about it, then they can take some steps. But hiding about it and not considering it, then that really to me is not fair to your kids, so let’s just take those steps, and yeah, that’s what I want the audience to, hopefully they walked away with a lot of great tidbits for themselves.
Art Costello: Oh, I know they did. And I want to tell everybody, please reach out to Jay if you’ve got any questions about this, and download that checklist because that could make all the difference in your life. I mean, it really could make a huge difference and it’s free, and thank you for that gift to my subscribers, I appreciate it. And everybody knows where they can find me expectationtherapy.com. And Heather White, go ahead and take us out of here.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Shower Epiphanies Community today: