“Here’s one huge reason you should save even if you’re young and don’t think you need to. It’s something you might not have considered.”
Welcome to The Wealthy Healthy, the podcast and blog dedicated to inspiring better mental, physical, and financial health. I’m your host, Riki Newton and today’s Financial Friday, I’m not gonna lie folks, this is not going to be the cheeriest episode we’ve ever done but I think it’s a very important one. Today we’re going to talk about one HUGE reason to save money, even if you’re young and feel like you don’t need to because you have all the time in the world left to save.
I recently attended a funeral for the close family member of one of my best friends. This friend is truly like a brother to me and we share pretty transparently with each other. Let’s set that story aside for a moment.
My own father grew up with a pretty broken relationship to his dad and they essentially had a pretty rocky relationship until he was a teenager and not much of one at all after that. So in the stead of that, he’s had other family members sort of represent a father figure to him. The primary such man passed recently, though he lived a very long and rich life, both in experiences and in wealth. In his passing, this man very diligently set up arrangements for the few who would be included in his will and arranged also for many details of his own funeral. This seems a little unusual, as people hate talking about death and nobody really enjoys considering their own mortality. In fact my show opener may have already turned a few people off and I understand that. This isn’t a pleasant subject, but it’s so unbelievably important. This father figure to my dad arranged nearly everything so that his wife and his family and friends he was leaving behind would not have to stress in their grief. He knew that a passing is never easy for loved ones to go through, and he made sure that many things were taken care of, in particular financial decisions and determinations.
I cannot stress enough how appreciated this was by those he left behind. There was no need to think about the funeral home or the casket or the location, and not only that but what he didn’t donate monetarily, he left behind for his wife and closest family, with clear instructions in his will for people, amounts, and timeline. He left behind a personalized note for each such recipient, which was apparently so touching for my dad that my mom could hardly tell me about it without choking up.
Now let’s come back to my friend’s father. I’m not trying to make any type of judgment here nor even to say what is right or wrong. What I am focusing on here is that either NOT saving money, or failing to responsibly and thoroughly articulate where everything should go, is an unbelievable strain on those left behind.
Again, this is with nothing but love and respect for those who have passed, but what I can tell you is the huge difference between what my dad dealt with in his father figure passing and what my friend is dealing with now. Yes, one passing was deliberate and one was sudden, but this is the reality we face every day. Anything can happen.
So, without a proper will, my friend is forced into legal battles. A fully paid property was left to no one’s name, meaning it’s essentially possessed by the government and even in the best case scenario — that my friend is able to legally claim it for himself, his mother, and his brother — they will only maintain about 40-60% of the value of the property. My friend is not only grieving the sudden and difficult loss, but he is also now forced to skip work, spend nights and weekends, and generally stress constantly about the trouble necessary to take possession of his father’s assets which should so obviously belong to his nuclear family left behind.
I had another recent passing in my life, a sudden one as well, and because this man hadn’t saved much of anything diligently, his wife and two young kids have no choice but to rely on family and friends for financial support as one baby is newborn and the mother will have a hard time returning to work with two babies to care for, the loss of her husband, and no financial safety net to rely on.
This is not a fun topic. I’m sure I’ve lost a few more listeners or readers at this stage and that’s okay. I love you all equally and I hope those listeners will tune in to the next one because this is the only downer topic on deck, I promise. But please, consider this reality we’ve discussed today. Even if you’re 26 and healthy, anything can happen, and I am willing to bet you have someone or likely several several people who would be devastated to lose you. But if you leave anything behind financially and arrange it, no it doesn’t make anything better but it makes an enormous impact in your loved ones’ ability to focus on celebrating your life and grieving the loss. It is an incredible show of thoughtfulness and love to show those people, “hey, I knew that this day would come, whether expected or sudden, whether tomorrow or in a hundred years, but I thought of you and I wanted to take care of the things nobody thinks about so you don’t have to.”
Dedicate money for the funeral service, the burial or cremation, any other related expenses, so you aren’t placing the strain of that on your loved ones. You can even dedicate money to be earmarked for something like a trip – believe me I’d love to stick around for all of this and I plan to make the right choices to enable that to happen, but if I can’t be around to see the world, the next best thing – or arguably better thing – is to give that opportunity to my significant other, my siblings, my parents, my friends. Even if you’re young and not making much, a few thousand dollars can save your family that much time and stress.
Thank you so much if you stuck around. It’s been top of mind for me this first half of the year and it’s been an enormous contrast to see how much harder the unfortunate is on those who were either left nothing, or had something not effectively dedicated to them.
If you refuse to save for yourself, please do so for your family and friends. Anyone who has been through this or around this more than once knows exactly what I’m talking about here. It’s an amazing and beautiful gesture of love.
I promise going forward we’re keeping things cheerful and inspiring here on the blog. Love you all.