Waiting is Not a Planning Strategy
Making a plan for your future in terms of your finances and where you plan to live as you age is one of the most important planning matters you can undertake. Instead of remaining passive and waiting, be intentional about setting and accomplishing your goals.
In today’s uncertain world, many people are pressing pause on all future planning. While sticking to day to day tasks helps us maintain sanity and keeps us flexible in a climate of constant change, isn’t constant change just a reality of life? There will always be something else going on that draws our attention away from planning for the future.
Therefore, we don’t recommend that you sit and wait until the craziness passes before you start making a plan. Life is never on pause. We continue to age and important decisions must be made. Resist the urge to let daily tasks and world events become excuses for complacency.
Developing a plan may seem overwhelming but it can be as simple as making a to-do list. Or it can be as significant as developing a life plan. Just begin somewhere and don’t stress out. The earlier you begin, the more time you have to build your plan. As you age, big picture plans become more urgent and more relevant.
Your plan should answer questions such as:
- Have I summarized my finances and put them in a place that a trusted person in my life could locate, if needed?
- Who do I want to step in and handle my affairs if I am not able to do so?
- Who will handle my estate?
- What type of community do I want to age in?
- Where do I want my assets to go after I pass away?
Here are a few tips that might help you get started on your plan:
- Make a list of some of the big-picture planning to-dos you haven’t set in stone yet (i.e. will, power of attorney, funeral plan, etc.)
- Give yourself a deadline to complete them. Break each one down into smaller goals (i.e. call an attorney by Friday, search for a housing alternative before December 1st, etc.)
- Set manageable goals. It’s not realistic to get this planning done in one week or even one month. It’s a process. Expect delays and give yourself plenty of time to think about each issue.
- Work with a trusted advisor who can provide you with resources and keep you on track so you can reach your goals.
- Let family members know that you’re beginning the process. This can be a difficult subject for adult children to address with their parents so be proactive and start the conversation.
- Provide your completed plan to those in a need-to-know role. There’s nothing worse than creating the perfect plan only to have it lost forever in the back of a filing cabinet.
Waiting shouldn’t be the first step in your plan, but getting started can feel overwhelming. We’ve created a new online tool and workbook to guide you through the process of gathering your important financial and life data. The Optimize Your Life Organizer (www.life-organizer.com) will keep you organized now and be a priceless gift for your loved ones, who will someday have to manage your finances and estate.
Take control of your future and start planning today!