What's Next?

What's Next?

| January 12, 2017

The 2016 holiday season is finally behind us! Whew! Now we can finally focus on what is coming next . . . so, what exactly is coming in this next for you this year? Based on what I’m hearing, besides your constant attention to Trump’s transition and upcoming inauguration, for most of you, it’s A LOT!  You are not slowing down to take a breather after the frantic holiday season. You are just moving right along at the same frantic pace you’ve always been moving at.

Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve had conversations with clients and friends who are officially retiring, changing jobs, switching careers, having a baby (or two), sending one to college, buying a business, buying a house, renovating their kitchen, or taking a major trip. OMG!

All of these major changes are occurring while you are just trying to keep the daily schedule straight. Your calendar for June is filling up already, and we haven’t finished January.  And tell me you haven’t had conversations about whose house you are planning to go to for this year’s holiday event . . . in December! (Yep, we’ve already decided.)

So, if your life is spinning so quickly that you can’t slow down to tackle the big things that need to be done, the really important things that you know you need to do, but you’ve been putting off because you just haven’t had time to get to it . . . then I ask you, when will they actually get done?

For example, when do you plan to die?

Huh? You ask.

Well if you haven’t taken care of your basic estate planning, you are basically saying to your family:  “I don’t plan to die. I’m going to live forever, and I don’t need to worry about communicating my wishes to my family. And if I do die, they will just figure it out.”

Wouldn’t you agree, this is a perfect way of saying “I love you.”  Maybe you could include it in this year’s Valentine’s Day card, “I love you, but not enough to take care of you after I die! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Realistically, we have no idea when our last day will be. It could be tomorrow or 100 years from now.  We don’t know. A former co-worker of mine lost her husband right after their first child was born. Then she died in childbirth with her second, leaving her two children without their parents. I can only hope that she had taken some time to slow down and plan for that situation. 

What we do know is that if we don’t think about it and take action to prepare for these things, then our loved ones could be stuck dealing with a situation that we never intended.

Here are some real life scenarios for you to consider:

  • You are a business owner, the sole breadwinner in your family, have no disability insurance, and you get into a car accident. Who pays the bills?
  • You are a company executive in perfectly good health, and all of a sudden you are diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Who takes care of you?
  • You are a disabled widow that falls and breaks her hip, and all of your children live far away. Who helps nurse you back to health?

Let me tell you, there is a big difference in how these people and their families will respond, which will ultimately depend on how much they prepared to handle things. Preparing for situations like these is important. It is prudent. It is what responsible, caring adults do to protect those they love from un-necessary stress during times that will already be stressful.

So, now I’ll re-ask the question: What’s next?

What is the rest of this year going to look like for you?  What will have happened in your life by the next New Year’s celebration? What priorities will you have set for yourself? What will you have accomplished?

Taking some time to slow down and tackle the important things is not being lazy or unproductive. It is being smart, and realizing that you have a limited resource -- your time. 

I believe that your “what’s next” should focus on the most important things in your life. Everything else can come after that.