Timing is Everything

Yesterday I was reading my local paper. It’s now a big paper, but it does tell you what happened last week, whats happening next week, and what the Senior Dining Menu is for the week. One of the biggest pages is the obituary page. When I turned to that page, an obituary jumped off the page at me. I had to read it twice. This woman had been killed in a traffic accident. I knew this woman. The last time I saw her she bursting with frustration and anger. Now I knew, there was going to be a serious financial train wreck in her family.

Last year her husband and her had attended one of my workshops. They came in, and we went through all of their financials and legal preparation. It was complex; they both owned their business, and were active in its management. She had another business she owned on her own.  They had unbelievable cash flows but were letting the funds sit in passbook savings accounts. They had no wills, no durable powers of attorney, no medical directives, no funds set aside for retirement. In short there was no personal planning or business planning.

After we met, I scheduled another appointment. It was going to take a while to figure this all out.

Two weeks later they were back in my office, and I outlined the steps they needed to take, and in what succession they should be done. I gave them a summary. The husband wanted to look it over. We made another appointment for the following week.

The day of the appointment came, and the wife/ business partner showed up. She was alone. She sat down, obviously disturbed. She put the plan summary on my desk. “We’re not going to do anything,” she said.

I was non-plussed. “Why?” I asked.

“My husband says everything is fine, and we don’t need to do anything.”  I  waited for another explanation.  I nodded.She finally added:  “He’s just too damn stubborn, won’t do anything.”  She began to sob. Then she thanked me, shook my hand and left.

I did call her at the end of the summer and all she said was “we aren’t doing anything.”

My eyes fell back to the obituary. “Doing Nothing”, I thought. “The most expensive course of action out there”

Rest in Peace. Your family is in distress, but you tried.


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