Advance planning is financially smart
Imagine if you will, you wake up one morning and get into your car to head out for your daily chores, only to realize that your car isn’t working. It won’t even start! So you call over to your neighbor and ask them if they can take you to the local car dealership later that afternoon. When you arrive at the dealership, you walk in and simply state “my car doesn’t work anymore, what do you have and how much will it cost me?” Is this how we purchase cars? Better yet, is this how we purchase anything?
Perhaps if you have the name Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, but for us average folk, we are going to learn a bit before going into that dealership, aren’t we? We are going to understand what car is going to suit our needs, what amount to spend and what add-ons we would want to make it our very own.
Unfortunately for years and years this was the way most people dealt with the loss of a loved one. We’d wait until the situation occurs, become educated on a topic we do not want to learn about, and then hand over a check for what most of us would agree to be a large amount of money. Why not plan for this like we do everything else: well in advance.
This process of planning ahead is something that has gained much popularity over the years, but it is nothing new. After all, the Egyptians were doing this when they built the pyramids. Consumers today plan in advance for a number of reasons, the three most common of which are: to remove the risk of emotional overspending, express your wishes and lessen the burden for the family.
Emotional overspending is something many individuals can avoid by planning in advance. A good example of this is a recent trip my family and I took to Orlando. We set a strict budget and it did not include going to Disney; but rather some of the other parks in the area. Do you know, Disney is so good at marketing that they had my 3-year-old daughter constantly asking to spend three minutes on the lap of a princess at Disney World! It was so emotionally difficult to say no and the urge to emotionally overspend on our budget was stronger than ever. My point behind this is that we had all the intentions of not taking the marketing bait of Disney, but it was very difficult not to spend that extra $90 per person for threer minutes of princess time for my daughter. This can be very similar when someone experiences a loss and comes into a funeral home with no prior knowledge. By making plans in advance, an education on the options is better absorbed and we can then make smart decisions on exactly what would be financially smart for ourselves and our family.
Expressing your wishes is something we hear much about from the Hollywood celebrities that pass. For example, Elizabeth Taylor wanted to be late to her own funeral. Sure enough, the hearse came late that day. Another would be that of a gentlemen I had the pleasure of meeting prior to his passing. He was the party master, known to all as the man that always threw the best party in town. So on July 30 of this year, we will be closing down the streets of Easton, Md., to do a second line celebration with individuals from New Orleans playing music for all to hear and be a part of. Unique, one of a kind celebrations are something that individuals desire today. By planning ahead, these details can be ironed out and planned for well in advance.
Finally, removing the burden from the family and simplifying the process to only a phone call is by far the most common response as to why so many individuals are deciding to plan in advance. Completing necessary documents ahead of time, understanding and deciding what would be best for my family, noting plans in a fashion for all to understand and to have ever ything financially protected can truly be one of the most powerful gifts we can leave for our surviving relatives.
Rather than spending an afternoon learning a difficult topic at a stressful time with a strange dark suited individual, give your family the gift of ease and allow them to take that time to be home with one another. Whether it be a car or another large purchase, it’s always best to plan ahead. In the world of undertaking we can do just that, and narrow the process down for our family to that of a phone call when the need arises. It can truly be that simple.