Is it just me or has the election season and political climate made it feel like someone died? In fact, in the case that someone actually has died in the past 8-12 months we have not even been able to grieve in a healthy way.
What a topic for a Friday! And why am I bringing it up? This topic could take far more than 2 minutes to cover (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short).
Unfortunately, people do pass away. I have experienced both tragic and sudden death in my family. Death is a terrible and sad topic, but certain aspects of death need to be addressed within the concept of money – as harsh as that sounds. Grief is part of the topic too.
The coronavirus, the US Presidential election mood and even longevity over the past decade have created serious grief. Grief leads to fatigue and fatigue then can lead to key financial decisions being put off – to the detriment of whole families. Topics and decisions around death include:
- Will preparation
- Healthcare proxies
- Estate planning & gifting of major and minor assets
- Long-term care planning especially for widows (biggie!)
- Tax planning of all kinds
- Beneficiary designations
- Sale of a home or second home
- …And mental health around all of these decisions.
Recently I was on an informational call about grief, widows and investing (thank you Dimensional Fund Advisors who is more than simply a fund manager – they are a partner and key source of information for my clients). The information I gleaned on the call was:
- It is OK to grieve when someone dies – and there is NO RUSH to do ANYTHING. TAKE YOUR TIME.
- Expertise by a trustworthy financial adviser and team of advisers (financial planner, tax, attorney) is critical.
- There are NO STUPID QUESTIONS when someone is grieving (or ever).
- Grief comes in many forms:
- loss of a person
- loss of a job
- anxiety around health setbacks of all kinds
- worry over a job transition
- worry over financial strain
- frustration with things out of our control (politics to an extent)
The over-riding message is NOT to let grief paralyze us. Paralysis can lead to chaos down the line. Find someone to trust to walk alongside you in times of grief so that your money and financial life are the crutch you can lean on to get you through to the other side of grief and hard times.
We are all in this together.