Recently I was watching a baseball game on TV and noticed a billboard in the outfield that really made an impact on me. It asked a simple question, rather bluntly: "Who Is Your Beneficiary?"
It's such a simple question but can YOU easily answer it? If so, do you LIKE the answer?
Since I recently went through a divorce, I hadn't gotten around to updating my beneficiaries on my various accounts during the process. I took the billboard's message to heart and realized that even though I help my clients make decisions and stay on top of their financial to-do's, even the expert, herself, was shirking on making the updates.
As we transition through various stages of our lives, our goals naturally change over time.
Keeping everything updated is crucial but it's also one of the most overlooked aspects of financial planning. Beneficiary selection is easy to procrastinate. Our lives are busy and big life changes push us to the edge with endless demands until we just can't keep up with everything.
This is when it's so important to ask for help!
Your beneficiary preferences will naturally change when going through a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or have new grandchildren that are born.
For me, personally, as I've progressed through my life, I have collected more financial accounts and also own insurance policies that are critical for my children if anything happens to me before their future professional lives begin.
I also have a beautiful home and I hope to pass my legacy on to my children eventually, but thinking through my beneficiary strategy took some time and, yes, I sought advice as well.
Big decisions deserve thoughtfulness and it helps to have an accountability partner to push you to get the updates done. Procrastination is a serious problem with any estate plannning.
Moments ago, I just got off a Friday late afternoon call with a client who is updating her will and trust and health care directive and power of attorney and IRA beneficiaries. It's a LOT to work through and it's important to have a team support you through these tough decisions.
Along with her Estate Planning Attorney, the three of us reviewed everything together and we coached her through some extremely difficult decisions. Having been a close confidante and advisor to her for many years, I was able to offer insight for the attorney that helped a great deal.
I love being able to help people make these difficult and impactful decisions. It's an honor to be the steward of my client's financial strategy even after they have passed on.
Doing the work for myself and my own plan is a reminder that we need help as we're going through life changes and even the strongest and smartest among us need someone to lean on.
I invite you to set up a time with me as the summer fades into the fall to review your beneficiaries and to have a meaningful dialogue around who and what matters most to you.
Suzanne Lundeen Abrams
President, Financial Advisor
Lundeen Abrams Advisors