October 16th I attended a party hosted by my client and friend, Sandi Van Buskirk. I was honored to make a toast highlighting her career accomplishments (retired founder of Software Synergy, Inc.) and her generosity to family, friends, and charitable causes about which she is passionate. But let me back up. In the last two years Sandi has been working hard to tighten up things from a financial perspective. She has been revising beneficiary arrangements, estate documents, and simplifying her estate by selling properties located outside of Florida. In helping Sandi outline the goals for revising her estate documents, one of her priorities was to make sure there were funds set aside for a celebration of life party. The more we discussed it, the more it saddened her that she wouldn’t be there. She loves parties! Which led me to a suggestion – why not have a “celebrating life” party now – not just Sandi’s life, but life in general. It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone as we have been learning how to cope with COVID-19. She loved the idea. She and close friend, Barbara Geyer, went to work at once on planning the event. Barbara did an amazing job executing Sandi’s vision. It was a lovely party. Family and friends came from out of town, and many attendees expressed great appreciation to Sandi for hosting the party. It was indeed a celebration of getting back to something that resembled “normal” in a crazy COVID world. It gave friends and family the opportunity to reconnect and celebrate.
I share this with you because, if we have learned anything from COVID, it is that life is unpredictable. One minute you are healthy and the next, well, your life can be hanging by a thread. Sometimes you recover. Sometimes you don’t. It might not be COVID. It might be an auto accident, a diagnosis of cancer, a stroke, a heart attack, or other debilitating or fatal illness. If we love our families, we need to prepare. Put your legal documents in order. Check your beneficiary arrangements and account registrations to be sure they are what you truly want. While it isn’t a pleasant thought, make your funeral arrangements now. This kind of preparation is a gift to those you leave behind, or to those who will be caring for you in your state of mental or physical disability.
2021 is coming fast to a close. There is no better time to tighten up your financial/estate plan so that you can start 2022 with a fresh start. Maybe you, too, will decide to plan a party to celebrate life.
As always, please remember, you only have 168 hours to live your life this and every week. Spend your 168 hours doing the things that only you can do – the things that are really important to you. Spend more time with the people you love. (And tell them you love them, too.) Do activities to help improve your health and fitness and spiritual life. Engage in activities that give joy to others (and see how much you benefit, too). Laugh out loud. Express your creativity. Play a game. Take a friend to lunch, even if it is via Zoom. Donate your time to a worthy charity. Change your routine. Live a high-performance life!