We all have to make decisions. Sometimes the decisions are small ones, other times they are big. The decision to plan for retirement. Or not. The decision to address estate planning. Or not. The decision to plan for potential senior care and its costs. Or not. The decision to pre-plan your funeral and consider a trust. Or not. The biggest decisions can be the most intimidating, after all, they are usually the most impactful.
What many people fail to acknowledge though is that doing nothing is a decision. Sometimes the effects of doing nothing catch us off guard and unprepared in the short-term where regret is sharp. More likely though, procrastination impacts the long-term outcome on ourselves and our families. It’s easy to be too busy to take time to plan. Weeks go by, then months, then a year. Then two. Is it too late? Often times not. Hopefully nothing significant happened like death of a family member, diagnosis of a terrible illness, a tragic accident, or an illness that has progressed to a point of no return. Over the long-term though, the decision not to plan ultimately is a decision to do nothing, and has compounding effects. Not having saved more or positioned your assets favorable to your long-term goals. Not having purchased insurance at a less expensive rate due to a younger age or better health. If there is a need for senior care, how will it affect your family? Emotionally? Operationally? Financially? What are the pros and cons of various senior care and estate planning options? What would happen if you were to become incapacitated? Who has the authority to manage your affairs? What would happen if you were to die today? Is your estate plan in place? Are your final arrangements made and financially taken care of? Would your family know who to contact, what to do, and what your wishes are? Here’s a great rule of thumb: make sure that you are not basing the importance of your decision making on the anticipated time frame of the goal or issue. In other words, just because something comes first on your time horizon doesn’t mean it’s the highest priority. Often times the most impactful events in our lives are expected to occur years down the road. Then again, sometimes they take us by surprise.
It is said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. What I can say is that, if you fail to plan, ultimately you or your family members will be faced with making important decisions in a time of crisis without a lot of time to spare. Unexpected death. A sudden accident. An illness that has progressed to a point of no return.
When is the best time to start planning? When is the best time to face a decision? The answer is, now. Take the time to plan.
If you would like to learn more, I invite you to join us at our public service educational event, “Taking Time to Plan – A Life Planning Workshop”, February 8th at Shuda Funeral Home in Stevens Point, or March 8th at Shuda Funeral Home in Plover. A qualified team of experienced local professionals will address the following areas: Understanding Wills, Powers of Attorney and Estate Planning; Senior Care Options and Current Costs; Financial Planning Options for Extended Care; Funeral Trusts and Pre-Planning. See our flyer for more information. RSVP required: (715) 544-8393 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Other professionals at the event, Schulfer & Associates and LPL Financial are all separate entities.
(Author’s note: Due to industry regulations, I am prohibited from responding to any online comments. I welcome you to contact me via e-mail: email@example.com).
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.