3 Suggestions for Expressing Your Love

3 Suggestions for Expressing Your Love

by Brandon Miller on Feb 14, 2020

Estate Planning, Retirement Planning

Contrary to the stream of advertising you see this time of year, flowers and chocolates are not the only ways to express your love. In fact, I have some suggestions that don’t wilt in a few days or rot your teeth.

You may not think of financial planning as a vehicle for love, but when done right, it actually can be. An infusion of cash at just the right moment or expressing your wishes explicitly so no one has to make a painful decision on your behalf shows way greater devotion than a dozen de-thorned roses.

Rather than resorting to the expected this year, why not opt for a more caring and thoughtful way to show your love? I have three suggestions for you:

Don’t leave behind a mess.

Kobe Bryant’s untimely death is just another reminder that anything can happen to any of us at any time. So please, please, please, for the sake of your loved ones, take care of some basic estate planning.

This is really just a way of formalizing your wishes—for yourself, as well as your assets—and has nothing to do with the size of your “estate.” A living trust may avoid having your assets go to probate, where the government might take a way bigger chunk of your estate than they’ll get if your requests are legally documented. Designating specific people to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated, and expressing the types of care you do and don’t want, means your loved ones don’t have to shoulder the burden of making these decisions for you. Is that not love?

So, if you have not done so already, I urge you to make an honest commitment to take care of these four things:

1. a basic will;
2. healthcare power of attorney;
3. financial power of attorney;
4. revocable living trust.

You can easily find forms and instructions online.

Put on your own mask first.

Some of my clients have trouble putting themselves first when it comes to money. It’s particularly difficult for those in the sandwich generation, caught between taking care of kids and parents. Women, especially, generally bear the brunt of competing demands. Many people say they feel selfish not helping out when someone they love is in need. Giving money is one way they can show they care.

But this is often shortsighted thinking. If you don’t take care of your own financial needs, then you’re increasing the likelihood of becoming a yoke on someone else in the future. Is that the legacy you want to leave your children or friends? Probably not.

The hard truth is that kids have student loans they can pursue to pay for school, plus many more years than you to build up a nest egg. And Medicare or local community resources may be available to help defray support costs for elderly parents.

Stepping back to make sure you’re not sacrificing your future for someone else’s present is not selfish, but rather respectful of those who will be in your life years from now.

Give money when it will do the most good.

On the other side of the coin, if you’re financially set for the rest of your life, think about how and when you want to distribute your assets. Most people default to providing an inheritance after they’re gone, often because they fear they’ll need that money at some point. But think of how much more helpful your cash could be right now to a young relative looking to start a business or to buy a house. That “inheritance” can go a lot further now than it will decades from now when you’re gone and that young person is well-established.

Same with giving money to charity. You can have an impact today, not at some future date when your nonprofit may not be around due to lack of funds.

If there’s no way you can spend everything you have, why not have fun right now helping out your friends and family?

To recap, you can show an enormous amount of love through basic estate planning, putting yourself first financially, and giving your money sooner rather than later. And sure, throw in a box of chocolates for good measure.

The opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security. Brio does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. As always, please remember that investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital; please seek advice from a licensed professional.

Brio Financial Group is a registered investment adviser. SEC Registration does not constitute an endorsement of Brio by the SEC nor does it indicate that Brio has attained a particular level of skill or ability. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Brio Financial Group and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Brio Financial Group unless a client service agreement is in place.