The cosmetology classes Yasmine Moss was taking at her Bladensburg, Md., high school were supposed to be a way to learn a trade she could use when she needed extra spending money for clothes or going out with friends. She didn’t anticipate that soon they would be her main means of support.
When Yasmine was 17 years old, her father, Tex, a construction worker, died of esophageal cancer just four months after receiving his diagnosis. In a cruel twist of fate, Yasmine lost her mother, DieDre, to ovarian cancer just three months later.
At the time, Yasmine and her older brother, Prevace, had been living with their mother at their grandmother’s house. Neither parent had life insurance, and their grandmother was on a fixed income. So amidst their grief, Yasmine and Prevace were suddenly responsible for supporting themselves financially. Prevace sums up the struggle that stretched out before him: “I live day by day—trying to just make it.”
Being under 18, Social Security survivor benefits helped Yasmine, but they weren’t enough. She found a job in a hair salon as a shampoo assistant, working 30 hours a week. All the while, she continued to focus on her studies, graduating near the top of her class and being named to the National Honor Society. Now in her second year of college, Yasmine continues to do well academically. Loans and grants help her pay for school, but she still works long hours when she’s home on break.
These young adults are now wise beyond their years and share a lesson learned. “Life insurance is essential,” says Yasmine. “If our mom and dad had bought life insurance, our stress over finances would be dramatically reduced, especially during our time of grief.”