“What’s your plan?” -- It is December 2016 and 15 months prior to this we brought home a 2-year-old kid from South Korea. My spouse and I finally got around to being responsible parents and were now sitting in front of an attorney who would help us build an estate plan so that our child would be taken care off in case something happened both of us.
As it turned out, when building an estate plan, they will expect you to know Your Plan. Not just work and your career. Not what vacation you will go to this summer. Not the major appliance or vehicle you are planning to buy. They ask about The Plan, the one that covers everything from now until your last breath.
How many of us have ever thought about this before? I certainly didn’t and neither did my wife.
And then, our attorney hit us with another one: “You guys are here because you want to make sure your child is protected if something happens to both of you and that part looks good, but there’s a big red flag in your current situation: what if something happens to just one of you? If that’s Dennis, your child and your wife will be in serious trouble. Maybe you should talk to a financial planner at some point.”
Being a responsible adult is not easy.
We left the office and set out to find a financial advisor. It took almost a month to learn about all types of advisor types out there (maybe a separate post?) and what questions to ask before you commit to working with one. We found a bunch in our area and narrowed the list down to 6 whom we interviewed.
So the day comes when we sit down with the financial advisor and one of the first questions she asks...
“So what is your plan?”
... and again she is asking about The Plan. The one that includes EVERYTHING. And even though, since leaving the lawyers office, my wife and I have spent a number of morning walks talking about this very subject, on a scale of 1 (completely clueless) to 10 (full clarity) we were sitting there with solid 2.5’s painted on our blank expressions.
That story captures the events that have set in motion a whole slew of other things that I will (most likely) end up writing a bunch about.
Having to ponder the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything from the perspective of two humans (and their one mini-human), led me to stumble into this discovery of a feeling / notion / understanding / perspective / awareness (whatever you want to call it) that not just myself, but all of us are on this constant path through life. Essentially, it is The Path.
I like outdoors, hiking, camping, etc, so now when I talk about The Path and picture it, to me it almost seems like a physical path through fields, forests, swamps, mountains, desserts, etc. And because life never stands still and things constantly change, we are all moving... somewhere.
How would this looks like for different people?
It seems that many of us are not even aware that if they were to look down they would notice a path. Rather, we just kind of stumble from tree to tree, sometimes we go in circles and at other times we just stay in place or wonder around for a bit. Kicking rocks and playing with sticks is fun, so let’s just do that for a bit.
Some of us notice the trail and we begin to follow it. But do we ever ask where is it leading us? Is this the trail for me? Is whatever at the end of it something I truly aim for or am I simply following it because it is here.
What if the path forks off into two? How many of us, take a pause to stop where we are and actually think, where do I want to end up? How do I get there? Which way should I go?
I do not pretend to know the answers or claim my opinion is of any quality, and it probably isn’t. The exercise I’d like to walk through in this blog, for myself as well as for anyone reading this is to simply reflect on my own direct experience. If/when someone reads this, maybe they’ll take away something helpful. Maybe they will disagree with my perspective and let me know that. Maybe I’ll learn from writing this blog more than the information I intend to share.
You made this far down the page. So here’s a take-away thought exercise...
What is your plan?