As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
This is true in every area of our life — from the smaller things (like a grocery list) to the larger things (like having a will) and everything in between.
Unfortunately, we never know when tragedy or illness will strike or when our life situations will change and when they do, most times it’s without warning and at the drop of a hat. That leaves our lives shaken up and barely recognizable. Everything, even the smallest details, then become almost impossible to handle and we’re left wondering,
where on earth do I start?
For these reasons, it’s important to have some sort of plan in place. Now, I know there’s no way of predicting the future to know exactly what lies around the corner, but being as prepared as we can, is very helpful.
Perhaps in future blog posts, we can delve into smaller plans, but for now, let’s tackle the large, big picture plans.
- Do you know what you would do if tragedy struck your family?
- How would you handle it if you or someone in your family became chronically ill?
- How would you handle losing your job or income?
- Do you have an emergency fund tucked away that would cover six months of expenses?
- Do you have a will that clearly states who will look after your children? Your affairs?
- Do you have a Power of Attorney in place that will appoint someone you trust to make your medical and / or financial decisions for you if you should become unable to?
- Do you have a financial plan (both short-term and long-term) in place?
- How long will it take to pay off your mortgage?
- What about college education for your children?
- What about retirement?
- When will that be and what are you doing to reach that goal?
- What about funeral planning? I know this is a tough one, but pre-planning everything you’re able to ahead of time, makes it easier on your loved ones who are left behind. They will already have enough on their plates to deal with, so make it as easy on them as possible.
Why not take some time now, when your mind is not muddied with emotions and your life full of upheaval any of these situations would cause, to work on your plans. When time is not of the essence, we can take the time we need to research and think things through thoroughly. We can work time into our schedules now to tackle them or we can wait until they happen then run around like a chicken with his head cut off, trying to catch the pieces as they fall. The choice of course is ours, but we don’t make the best decisions when we’re in the middle of a tragedy.
I know, I know — I hear some of you are saying, “Yes, but things can change. I may make a plan now but college, retirement etc. are a long way off and things may change by then!”
You are absolutely right! Things can change and probably will. That’s why it’s important to keep your plans updated as you go along and flexible enough to allow for change as needed. Plan to review them yearly to make sure you’re still on track.
Then there are those who are saying, “But retirement, college, death is so far off! I have lots of time!” Believe me, these things are closer than you realize and will be upon you before you know it.
Planning today allows for a better tomorrow and beyond. Pre-planning is one of the most important things you can do to help your life run smoothly!