July’s theme of “Estate Planning” will hopefully either feel like a stroll in the park with an old friend or being in the “front row” of a Radiohead concert with your pals. In either case, now’s the time to examine our relationships and put some ink on some paper. Enjoy this month’s OC Wealth Coach reading!
As June flew by and summer gets in to full swing, I hope you have a chance to “deduct” some time to fill in the “margins” with some rest and relaxation. Once the travel season settles down, summer is often a great time to sit down and strategize for the rest of the year. After all, time isn’t slowing down for anyone that I’ve talked to. So milk that “summer” for all it’s worth by putting something on the calendar!
This month, our focus is on Estate Planning *yawns*. I acknowledge it is probably the least “fun” topic (EVER) to talk about, let alone with so many “beach-worthy” days ahead! However, we often find that getting this in order can provide clients a huge amount of relief. Discussions often bring up new emotions and questions that we would rather not mention. And I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say “Don’t talk like that!” when discussing beneficiaries, what to do with the memorabilia in the attic, or the code to the safe “in case something happens” on a trip.
I get it; we want to hope for the best and fear “jinxing” it. However, every once in a while, we need to examine this facet of financial planning while allowing those emotions to be as they are. There’s nothing wrong with having some sadness or otherwise, but those emotions are what makes having these discussions important. I’ve never talked to someone who regrets going through the process when it’s approached thoughtfully. Plus, we’re used to “jinxing” it anyway by talking about it, so “it’s going to be a glorious day, I feel my luck could change”.
Since the vast majority of you are good OC Wealth Coach’ers, I’m going to refrain from just reminding you to review your beneficiary designations or your estate planning documents. (I’ll leave that for Jeff to insert in our annual Holiday Letter.) Instead, I’m going to suggest that you give some thought to the relationships of the people that are close to you. They might be beneficiaries, but they might not. After thinking through that list, write down, at the most, 8 names. Why 8, you may ask? Because that’s about how many seats could be in the “front row” of a concert with you, 4 on each side of you. Any more than that, and we just can’t adequately share in that experience the same way. Don’t feel like you have to come up with 8; stop where you feel you should stop. You could look down the row at this “concert” and share a smile and a head nod with these people; realizing that they know you, and you know them. No words are needed, and it’s awesome.
So you wrote down those names, right?
Now, think about how each of those people have positively impacted your journey. Is there something about their friendship that will continue to impact your future endeavors? Have you learned something valuable from them that you will never forget or teach others in the future? Is there something about them that you think created the bond you two have?
I mentioned this topic may be emotional. Quite frankly, some of these thoughts should bring forth some emotions. If you need to write some notes down on a tear-soaked piece of paper, go for it. If you have the new “tear-proof” smartphone, use that. If you are like me and won’t shed a tear, feel free to sprinkle some water on the paper to fit in.
Alright, now that you have some thoughts, what do you think about actually sharing some thoughts with each person? Could you put a short note together or take them to coffee? It could be out of your comfort zone (it’s out of mine), but just think of the impact you could have on them. Perhaps the lesson you find so valuable is one that they have stopped sharing. Or perhaps they simply don’t know how much it has affected you.
This is really what estate planning should be about. Taking a moment to put some thoughts on paper that you otherwise wouldn’t. Letting someone know your wishes and how they’ve impacted you. And doing it in an organized fashion so you know that someone knows.
So, this month, I want to challenge you to send out cards to the people you consider in your “front row”. Let them know, because if they truly are your “front row”, all I see is upside.
“Your move, Chief”,
(The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.)
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Trent Huston is a Financial Consultant with securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through AK Financial Group, a registered investment advisor. AK Financial Group and OC Wealth Coach are separate entities from LPL Financial.
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