By Laura DeVore, Financial Advisor
Recently I got to talking to a few colleagues about what makes a great financial advisor. We all agreed that the most important aspect is a HUMAN financial advisor.
With our HUMANITY comes the understanding that we are all going to die and that the death of a spouse/partner is one of life’s most stressful events. This understanding empowers HUMAN financial advisors to prepare for the inevitable the way robots and algorithms cannot.
At our stage of life, my husband and I have been attending countless weddings and baby showers. We are in the stage of life where our children have become adults, and they are starting their new lives. It is a very fun time for us because we don’t have the burden of making sure they are OK. They are adults. They have to make their way now. We have four adult sons that are off the “family payroll.” In the last two years, we have become proud grandparents to two grandsons.
Last month over dinner with my parents, Dick and Liz, they presented us with a binder. They explained the reason for the binder being their decision to pre-pay for their funerals and have a detailed list of their individual wishes. These wishes include specific details, down to the method of payment for the celebrations of life.
Mom and Dad are in their 80s and have lived in a wonderful retirement community for 21 years. Now that they are in a later stage of life, many of their friends and neighbors are passing away. My parents are very accepting of death, as they see it more often than I do.
They have seen many friends and family members overwhelmed with the grieving process after a loved one passes away. For some, it’s been a tremendous financial burden.
After the dinner with my parents, I was motivated to be an even better HUMAN financial advisor. Thanks to our dinner conversation, I was touched by the tremendous need for our aging population. So I started researching and found a few helpful articles that discuss the benefits of preplanning and prepaying for your own funeral. In addition, I took a step further and contacted a specialist, Marla Whitlock-Rodriquez, who is a preplanning funeral agent for Homesteaders Life Company. Marla says: “There is no age or stage for funeral planning. The closest family will be at odds when it comes to funeral planning. It is the smartest investment decision you will ever make because the price is fixed at the time you purchase.”
Here are three benefits to creating your end of life plan:
1) It ensures that your personal desires are met.
My mom wants to be cremated and found a service that will turn you into a tree that can be planted where you wish. (She chose a burned out area that needs new trees)
My dad wants to have his ashes spread at sea and found a local man, “Captain Joe,” who does this.
2) The emotional and financial burden on your family is lifted.
By prepaying, you can lock in and sometimes get a discounted rate. It is a terrible time for family members and with it’s loaded with potential disagreements. With my parents, they have saved a specific sum of money in a bank CD that I will access to pay for celebrations of life.
3) It is a gift to your surviving family.
Having my parents be so willing to talk about end-of life issues and actually make their own deicisions has taught me how to approach this with more ease.
While it sure will be difficult to see my parents pass on, they have given us a great gift at a very difficult time.