Welcome to my first ever blog post. I have never been much of a writer, and I usually shy away from such activities. My recent move to Live Oak Private Wealth, however, has helped me get outside of my comfort zone. I’m glad you can join me on this journey!
Something you should know about me is that I am a motorcycle enthusiast. This hobby is a big part of my life, and many aspects of motorcycles and riding relate directly to other areas of my life. I say this because I rode my motorcycle to work the other day. I live very close to our office, but the beautiful weather on this particular day made we want to make the short trip on my bike. When I was leaving, my colleague Connor saw me putting on all my gear. He asked, “You put all that stuff on just to ride across the street?” And my answer–just as it is every time someone asks me this question–was, “I dress for the slide, not for the ride.” This brief exchange with Connor made me think about another area of my life where I also spend a great deal of thought: estate planning.
What is estate planning? Google will tell you that estate planning is the act of preparing for the transfer of a person’s wealth and assets after his or her death. Doesn’t that sound exciting? I mean, anything with the D-word is the perfect topic for a cocktail party, right?! Let’s be honest. Death is not a fun word and not something most people enjoy talking about, but it is a reality. Failure to adequately prepare for this reality can have many consequences. People like me who ride motorcycles do not get on their bike and intend to go out and have a wreck. However, this is a reality that can happen any time you ride. So, what should you do about this? You should prepare by wearing the appropriate gear to protect yourself in the event of a crash.
Now, what about the D-word? Not a person I know leaves the house in the morning with the intention of not coming home. And statistically, the vast majority of people go throughout their day and return home just as they left. But, just because it’s unlikely that something will happen doesn’t mean you should avoid preparing for it. Having a financial plan to help guide you through the different stages of life will help ensure you meet all of your financial goals. A properly executed estate plan is a critical part of a comprehensive financial plan.
I don’t consider myself old, but I do feel like I’ve been around long enough to know that life doesn’t always go exactly the way you think it will. Accidents can happen that leave you dependent on someone else, either temporarily or permanently. Family members could make the wrong decision when it comes to who they choose as a spouse. Substance abuse can rear its ugly head in the most unlikely places. Legislation may change so the government can share in a more significant portion of your wealth. None of these are fun scenarios, but they’re all very real possibilities, and it’s essential to prepare for these circumstances adequately.
The proper financial professionals can help craft a plan that will ensure you and your family are protected for whatever life throws your way. Hopefully, my helmet never hits the ground, but over time I still need to check in on it to ensure it will continue to protect my head. Even if you already have an estate plan in place, it is just as important to review the plan periodically to make sure it is still working the way you intend it to.
In Wilmington’s warm climate, it’s not always fun to put on a helmet, leather jacket, boots and gloves to ride across the street. If that happens to be the day that a car leaves an oil slick in my path, however, it will turn out to be well worth the effort. Making a plan for how you leave your legacy will probably not be the highlight of your year, but the effort will certainly be worth it for your family. The fact of the matter is that the slide will happen one day, so it’s best to be dressed for it so you can go out and truly enjoy your ride.