The Ultimate Valentine’s gift

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so you may be thinking of chocolate, flowers, romantic dinners and sappy cards. I love all of those! But this year let’s make Valentine’s Day a time to demonstrate our love in a more practical way—by sharing information.

It isn’t uncommon for an unexpected death to result in stress for the survivors that goes way beyond the grief. If you lost your partner, would you know the location of all of your accounts, the safety deposit box key, or the main water shutoff for your home? Dividing up tasks makes sense for efficiency; it also results in pockets of specialized knowledge. Unless we deliberately and systematically share information, our loved ones are at risk should we be out-of-commission or absent.

Organizing our financial and household information feels like an overwhelming task. That’s why even most financial planners, masters of organizing information that we are, haven’t done it! Financial planner Steve Juetten and his wife Nancy created the “Life Goes on Roadmap” to make this process manageable and fun…when they realized that they hadn’t put together their own information. Feel better now? I do!

Whether you go with the roadmap, create your own spreadsheet or Word document (stored securely, please!) or take out paper and pen (again, stored securely), do your loved ones a big favor and get started now. Step by step, even if it’s only 15 minutes a week, you can knock this out. Each step you take provides your partner or family with information they didn’t have before—that is valuable progress. This Valentine’s Day, consider the ultimate practical gift of information to go along with the chocolates!