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If current events have taught us anything over the recent weeks, it is that tomorrow is promised to no one. No matter the vehicle – cancer, heart attack, old age, drugs, or acts of violence – we all exit stage left at some point.
Sure, it is sad and tragic and too soon but it is also inevitable and unavoidable.
For those reasons it is imperative that we take steps to prepare ourselves, and more importantly to prepare our loved ones for those most challenging first days they will have without us.
On a lark, I once wrote about True Love and how the making of smart financial decisions for and with our family’s long term future is a fantastic expression of our love.
If we make those decisions with the knowledge that we will also benefit from those positive outcomes, then how much more an expression of selfless love if we make decisions and take actions solely designed for those we will one day leave behind?
Here are 5 actions I encourage you to take, before it’s too late:
1 – Make a Will – leave a clear direction as to how your assets and possessions should be distributed. Don’t feed confusion or bickering over treasured possessions you leave behind. Make a clear and articulated stand. Making a Will is even more important if you have children. Who should care for them and how will their needs be provided?
2 – Life Insurance – having life insurance will help address some of the open issues in item one. Funds from a life insurance policy can help finance a secure future for your loved ones. But be diligent in your purchase. Select a sound and simple term policy over a cumbersome whole life or universal policy. As a rule, if the policy has more moving parts then there are more places to hide fees and “gotcha’s”.
3 – Organize yourself – I recently linked to a fantastic tool created by Trent over at Simple Dollar to help guide you through the organization process. I’ve made an attempt to create a similar inventory for myself but it is not nearly as robust as Trent’s offering. Click over and get busy.
4 – Write a Love Letter – this is not a gooey mushy letter we’d write while in the throes of puppy love. Rather, write a meaningful and direction providing note to your wife or husband assuring them of your love, as well as, their ability to make it through these tough times. Offer ideas and suggestions to help them in their upcoming decision making process. What to do with thousands coming from Life Insurance, and how to best take over the reigns of the household budget may be part of the message. Write multiple notes if you have children so they will each have something unique to them from you as they navigate life’s way without you. Speaking from experience, this is the hardest step on the list. I know that I shed a tear thinking about what those days might resemble but I was pleased to know that I had invested in the effort.
5 – Wash, Rinse, Repeat – This is not a one time event. As circumstances change and life continues to propel us forward, we’ll need to revisit our information. Items as simple as payoff balances and contact numbers will change, and elements as complex as new or growing children and estates will continually evolve. Let your loved ones know that such documentation exists and revisit with a scheduled regularity.
This is one deal you want to take advantage of before it is too late.
Photo By: bogenfreund
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