No one thinks about dying. We know it happens; we know it’s unavoidable.
Most of us have known people who have gone to the great beyond. We’ve lost family and friends, young and old, expected and unexpected.
Rare is the person who prepares for his or her own death.
Yet early on, we plan how we’ll live.
Here’s where we’ll go to school, this is what we’ll do, this is the job we’ll get (or hope to get). And we circle the places we want to go, hoping that dream job ends up somewhere we really, really like.
We’re told by family and friends to save money because we’ll need cars and houses. We might get married. If we’re fortunate, we’ll have children. That takes more money.
We might eventually get some advice from a financial adviser and/or listen religiously to Dave Ramsey.
The popular author and syndicated radio host offers advice Grandma always dispensed: Save more than you spend. Prepare for a rainy day.
If you don’t think it’s important to keep your financial records in order, think again. You never know if one day will be your last. So if family and friends need to find that information, it’s good you have it in a safe but accessible place. No need to tell everybody, but let those closest to you know.
It’s difficult enough to deal with one’s passing; scrambling to find important information afterward can make a tough situation even tougher.
Grieving takes on many forms for survivors. There is sadness, despair, outrage, confusion, resignation ... and there even is hope and joy. The range of emotions is wide. Some people deal with the death of a loved one by immersing themselves in work. It helps keep those emotions at bay.
Sitting in a funeral home listening to why it costs so much to bury someone is almost an out-of-body experience. You appreciate the kindness and hospitality, but you also wonder why one should profit from someone else’s loss. But in death as in life, you want the very best for your loved one, forget the cost.
If you’ve never thought of burial insurance or prepaid plans, you might consider them. I know, Dave says they’re a waste of time and money, that if you invest properly you won’t have to worry abut that. And that’s fair. After all, we have seen and read about those prepaid plans going bust, leaving victims in another terrible situation.
And if you’ve never thought about a living will, it’s strongly recommended. Never leave in doubt what your wishes are when you’re knocking on death’s door.
Write a will, but know that you’ll still need an attorney to get the probate process going to deal with the list of creditors who share in your sorrow – but who still want their money.
The lesson here is that while you’re busy planning how you’re going to live, remember that it eventually will come to an end. And all those things you accumulated over the years won’t mean a thing.
Live your life fully. Be kind, caring, compassionate and generous. And know that your loved ones will always love you, even when you’re gone.
Dennis Seid is the business editor at the Daily Journal. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 678-1578.