I’ve talked about preparedness a lot on this blog. Doing things like setting up your emergency fund, keeping an emergency kit and a small stockpile of food in your home, and making sure you have a plan should an emergency happen while you’re away from home.
But all of those things rest on the assumption that whatever happens, you and your family will all still be around to use those items. What we often don’t like to think about is what happens when tragedy strikes?
It took me all together too long to put together my will. It took me even longer to actually sign it. Why? Because I didn’t want to think about it. And my will was relatively easy. I don’t have children or a spouse, so I’m leaving everything to my siblings (a fact that they immediately seized upon and joked about how they were going to off me so they could get my stuff). But to be honest, having a will isn’t enough.
I recently discovered a great website called GYST or Get Your S**t Together (crude, but effective), that will help to guide you through what you need to do.
First off, this isn’t a paid review of GYST. They don’t know who I am at all. Also, in going through their site, while they do have some services they offer for a fee, none of them are services you absolutely need to use (you can pay for an attorney consult, but you can always find another attorney, for example). And while they recommend specific products, again, you can do your own research. From everything I’ve seen, this is a great resource that you can use with confidence.
The most important part, in my opinion, is their checklist. They break down the things you need to do into simple tasks. And they offer guides to help you through those tasks. They even link you to free forms for your state to help you put together things like your Living Will and your Advance Care Directive.
I know, I know. No one wants to talk about these things. I’m young and healthy, after all. Why would I want to be planning for my demise?
But the thing is, I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it for my family. My grandfather died recently and he had done an excellent job of having everything in place. He had all the paperwork taken care of. He knew what he wanted and he made sure that my mother would be able to find all the information she needed. It was still a lot of work for her to handle everything, but she knew what she had to do. On the other hand, a friend recently lost her father and the situation was completely different. He had a will, but it was terribly outdated. There was no record of his accounts or insurance policies. She went through a lot to try to settle his estate and it was a lot of stress for her on top of the emotional stress of losing her father. Clearly, this wasn’t something he ever wanted to do to her, but like so many of us, he had put off putting together his information.
So check out GYST and… well, GYST. Let’s do it together, and I’ll touch base with you in a few months to see how we’re all doing.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.