In the 1994 cinema classic, "Forrest Gump," we learn some great life lessons. For starters, you can go home again. Also notable, the value of loyalty to friends and that it doesn't matter how others see you, but how you see yourself. And great as those lessons are, there's yet another that we need to talk about this month. That is that sometimes, on our journey through life, things go awry. It was just a few weeks ago that my family was reminded of this reality. The husband of a friend of my wife's left one Friday night to go play hockey, just as he does every week. Children had been put to bed, a quick peck on the cheek was given, and out the door he went. Still in his 30s, a business owner, and another baby on the way, he never came back. Though seemingly healthy, he had a heart attack on the ice and was gone before his wife made it to the hospital and could say goodbye. That's why for every financial planning client I have, we talk about protecting what's important. If it's needed, we purchase life and disability insurance. We review auto, homeowners/renters & umbrella policies regularly. Estate plans are examined and re-examined as life happens and circumstances change. These tasks don't take long and are part of the value of working with a comprehensive financial planner who is looking beyond the management of an investment portfolio. This month, whether you're a client or not, I want to encourage you to do two simple things:
Review your estate plan. Make sure your executors, powers of attorney, and guardians all have copies of relevant documents and are willing to execute their tasks. Review your insurance package, which should include home, auto, life and disability coverage. Relatedly, make a video of the interior of your home. Go room-by-room, pulling out each drawer and opening each closet to show what's inside. Then upload a copy of the video to your iCloud or store a digital version in a safe, off-site, location (or in a fireproof box). If there's ever a fire or theft, a video will jog your memory of *every* item you owned and serve as evidence if your insurance company disputes your claim.
It won't take long and it might (though I hope not!) be one of the most important things you ever do.