Regular readers may know the drill – I spent the summer focusing on dog sitting. It was an extraordinarily good time to make money with everyone getting a pandemic dog and then traveling with vaccines. I didn’t think I’d be doing this much dog sitting in October, but it hasn’t stopped. For this reason, some of my articles have been a little brief.
My wife has been wondering if it’s time to retire. The answer to “where do we go from here is “one more year.” This will give us time to tie up a lot of loose ends, dot the i’s and cross the t’s… and any other cliche that you can think of.
The military has had a couple of good seminars and she’s starting to have some confidence in the steps. I’ve only been preparing for it for fifteen years, but I guess some “Dan guy” who doesn’t know our money situation sounds trustworthy. I’m not bitter, not one bit. Well, as you can tell, I am, but it is kind of nice to have her interested in finances. She’d mostly been focusing on work and now that she’s turning her attention to retirement, she’s starting to realize the position we are in with multiple streams of income and a nest egg that is double what he recommends.
One of his recommendations is one that I’ve been trying to get done for a couple of years now… set up an estate plan. It seems that many of my online blogging friends set theirs up at age 47, so we aren’t too early at age 45. My mother set hers up around age 70, I think. She might have had something set up before that, which I didn’t know about.
My initial thought was to reach out most popular lawyers in town. They already do some incorporation stuff with Lazy Man and Money, so we have a relationship for a couple of days of the year. However, our neighbor across the street is a partner at a firm that does estate planning as well. He’s mostly retired I think, but I see him leaving for the office now and again.
I wanted to give our neighbor the business, but I didn’t want to confuse our friendship. My wife figured it would be fine. We called up the office and mentioned we knew him, but I think they are setting us with someone else at the office. This is perfect because I honestly want someone closer to our age working on it if we are going to keep this for the next 40 years.
They emailed us a PDF of a packet to complete. I remember thinking, “This is going to be easy. I have our net worth for every month of the last decade and all these equations to produce nearly anything they want.” I was prepared!
I was NOT prepared!
There was a list of things to gather such as account numbers. I didn’t include those in my spreadsheets.
Then it asked for the location of our safety deposit box. Ummm, what year is it again? I once asked on Twitter if people still get them and it seems they are very, very uncool.
Copies of insurance policies? I know I must have those somewhere, but that’s going to be a search.
Deeds? Ummm, I guess we have those on the cars. We still have mortgages on the real estate though.
I went ahead and started to fill out the packet without all this stuff. At the very least, I should be able to get my name and address areas completed. However, after that section, I found I could the next section and the next one. Sometimes, I had to stop and look up some information online, but I was able to get a good amount done.
The Big Initial Surprise in Setting up an Estate Plan
I knew that somewhere it was going to ask stuff about guardians and health proxies, so it’s not a surprise. However, the depth of the questions certainly made me realize that I hadn’t covered as many bases as I thought I did. In a lot of ways, this is an excellent exercise to plug up the financial holes in our plans. These holes are mostly administrative. They aren’t the kinds of things that I write about on this site because I find them very boring. Sometimes the most important things are boring.
I’m not sure if getting an estate plan is right for you, but it may be worth looking into it. I imagine you’ll learn a few new things about your financial situation.
After I get this packet into the lawyers and we review it, I’ll be back with another article about the next steps. I anticipate that some of these are personal, so I’ll try to generalize the things that would most apply to this broad audience.