Many estate planning lawyers blog regularly about the tendency of people to avoid thinking about estate planning, often until it is too late.  By that I mean, that a sudden critical illness or major life change has taken the decision out of your hands and placed medical and financial decision-making into the hands of others, without much input from YOU.

A recent study by our friends at the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College indicates that American also tend to “put off” other critical decisions, particularly decisions about their finances/retirement.

In the CRR article titled: “Dog Bites Man: Americans Are Shortsighted About Their Finances” by Steven A. Sass, Anek Belbase, Thomas Cooperrider and Jorge D. Ramos-Mercado findings are that “human nature suggests that they (Americans) will focus more on day-to-day financial needs” and that a “household’s level of financial satisfaction is tied more to short-term-rather than long-term concerns.”

What is surprising is that even households with increased ‘financial literacy’ are only ‘more modestly attuned to long-term financial issues.” Apparently, even if you are ‘smart about money’ you tend to put off important long-term financial decisions.

There is no doubt that thinking “long term” is not simple.  Many Estate Planning issues deal with the “what ifs” of life.  Since starting my blog, my tag line has been – “Working to Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World”. It seems that the world is changing ever faster.  Planning for future changes in your life takes courage, know-how, resilience, and persistence.  By that I mean—courage to begin the estate planning process, know-how to make the correct long term decisions about your finances; resilience and persistence to continue the process when things change (and they WILL change!).  It means facing up to the “What If’s” of life.

What can motivate a person to make the move toward securing their future?  I often blog about the “key” factors (Motivators) that should move anyone to think about their estate planning issues:  a birth, a death, a change of jobs; relocation (particularly to a temporary foreign assignment or to another state); retirement; a significant change of finances (e.g.,loss of job, inheritance); a medical crisis; acquisition of a substantial asset; a divorce; a marriage.

As the researchers at Boston College state: “Americans need to save more on their own for retirement” and think about their financial future earlier, and my opinion is that individuals need to pay close attention to their estate planning needs as early as possible.

“Working to Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World” 

Please read my disclaimer at bottom of this page and also my column “How I Can Help You”

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About Attorney Barbara Ann Dalvano

Attorney in Denver, Colorado with extensive practice experience in the areas of Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Business Succession Planning, Probate, Contract Law.

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