The Best Laid Plans...
I've spent some time over the past couple of days thinking about what I wanted to write about in my next blog posting. I was thinking about our economy, and the steps the government has been taking to try to influence the economy - about how the government in general, and Presidents in particular, get too much credit when the economy does well and shoulder too much blame when the economy goes poorly....
I can't bring myself to write about any of that this morning.
Upon arriving in the office I learned that a colleague I've worked with for some time suffered a brain aneurysm over the holiday break and has since passed away. My thoughts and prayers are with her family this morning.
I hesitated for a moment as to whether or not I should write about this here. After all, this is CAPS - a place dedicated primarily to stocks and investing - and it seems that lately I've been writing more about personal happenings than I have about the market. When it comes down to it though, this is a community, a collection of people. While we gather together primarily to discuss stocks and learn from one another in the hopes of becoming better investors, I try my best to always remember that there are real, live human beings behind those thumbs-up and thumbs-down calls - people facing challenges and experiencing joys in their lives. Stocks and investing are both a hobby and passion of mine, but only one of many - and writing soley about money matters at the exclusion of personal ones would, in my mind, paint a rather incomplete picture of who I am not just as a person, but as an investor too.
Our personal lives and our lives as investors are inexorably intertwined... and while there's no way I know of to prepare for the emotional trauma that the sudden passing of a loved one causes, we can, at least in part, prepare for the financial impact.
If someone depends on your income, do you have life insurance? Is it enough?
What about a long-term illness? Do you have long-term disablility insurance? Is it enough?
Do you have a will, living trust, or some other form of estate planning?
Do you have an advance directive?
Does your spouse or other next of kin know about all of the family finances? What accounts you have? With which financial institutions? Account numbers, balances, passwords, and where to find the important documents? Do you know where all of these things are?
While I know the answer to the questions above for myself, I am realizing that there are one or two I could do a bit better job of (it's been a while since I've gone over all of the specific account information with my wife) -- something I plan on fixing right after we put Little Eldrehad to bed tonight and before my wife and I settle in for an evening of television or movie watching.
These issues are hard to think about and talk about for some - and one always thinks that there will be time for such things 'tomorrow'. I know I've certainly put some of these things off when I shouldn't have (it took adding our daughter to our family before I finally got around to doing my will). But if you, like me, think you could be doing a bit better job of planning for the inevitablility of your passing, or that of a loved one, I encourage you not to let too many more 'tommorrows' come and go.
None of us know, for sure, just how many more 'tomorrows' we will have.
Russell (a.k.a. TMFEldrehad)