Planning For The Future: Why You Shouldn't Avoid It

portrait of happy caucasian senior woman saving euro coin into piggybank and smiling at camera
portrait of happy caucasian senior woman saving euro coin into piggybank and smiling at camera

My mom is turning 80 this September. But she's always been young at heart. In fact, she always jokes that she's really still 17 (and she acts like it sometimes!).

I just got back from a week-long vacation with her and my family. For some reason, we got in a conversation about aging and death. And she said to me and my sister and was dead serious (no pun intended!), "I still haven't accepted my death as fact." In other words, she thinks she's immortal. There's some part of her that doesn't believe she's going to die.

She passed on that same feeling to me. I feel immortal, too.

While that sounds silly, it has been something I have wrestled with most of my life. And obviously, my mom has too. Like mother, like daughter, huh?

The reason I bring this up is because sometimes this attitude of feeling and thinking you're still 17...or 22 (in my case) ... can delay or prevent you from planning for the future like you should.

For example, for the longest time, I avoided drawing up a will. I think somewhere in my psyche I believed that I if I had a will, then it was like I was jinxing myself. It's like saying to God, "Okay, I can die now because I've planned for it and acknowledged my mortality."

But a few years ago, a friend of mine who is about 16 years older than me told me, "Carol, if you don't have a will, your estate might go to the government. You need to have one to protect your kids so you know you'll leave everything to them."

Gee, I never thought about it that way. Darn it. He was right.

So I did have a will drawn up, but I still haven't had anyone witness me sign it. I think that's part of the deal and making it a document that will stand up in court. I'm not necessarily avoiding it, but I think subconsciously, I might be.

I sometimes even neglect to plan for the future for when I'll still be here. For example, over my vacation, my mom and I got talking about my retirement. I told her I had no idea how much money I'd get from my retirement fund if and when I do decide to retire. She strongly urged me to look into it. And she's probably right. Even though retirement seems a long way off, I suppose I should have better handle on things.

So I plan to do some more planning for the future besides these two things. For example, I've heard having a trust can help with your financials such as medical expenses. And also making more investments so I can help pay for my kids' college educations, which are practically around the corner. But it's never too late to start.

I am not usually someone who avoids things. In fact, I like to face things head on and not deny reality. However, for some reason, when it comes to things like wills, retirement, and investing money, I do not do so well. And I think I need to change that.

What about you? What do you avoid? It might not be anything to do with the future. There are a lot of things that people avoid. And one of them is acknowledging the truth about something. In my case, it's death. In other people's cases, it could be silly things like "I'm not perfect." Of course you're not perfect - no one is!

I think it's time that we all sit down with ourselves and have a talk. What are we avoiding? Why are we avoiding it? Does it serve us well to avoid it, or should we simply get real once and for all?

Usually, avoiding doesn't do us much good. So I encourage all of you to face your unknowns head on and make a change!