Financial Documents. Planning for the future. ‘What if’ scenarios. The state of your aging parent’s finances. Words and phrases that can often strike fear and anxiety in most of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As with any subject, the more you can learn, the more you can release your fear around that topic and begin to plan and use the information to your benefit.

So, what do I mean by Financial Documents? It is the documents and information that should be in place in case of a ‘Life Event’, which is something that has a significant impact on your life, both financially and personally. This could be retirement, funding a child’s education or wedding, death of a spouse, divorce, job loss, and the like. Many of us don’t want to think about some of these topics, or don’t feel that there is any way we could ever be prepared, and so therefore, the topic gets ignored. But the reality is, the more you can educate yourself on this topic, the more prepared you will be to face an inevitable life event. Ignoring it doesn’t make it not happen, but addressing it makes the event much less stressful.

I was someone who did not want to face reality that something could go wrong, because I honestly thought that I would not be able to continue on. I would ask my husband, Sam, ‘what do I do if anything happens to you’. But when he said to me, ‘Karen, you could take care of things’ my answer would be a resounding ‘No way!’ and I’d end the conversation. I did not want to think about the possibility of a future of my life without him. So when the worst case scenario happened – he died very unexpectedly at the young age of 49 – not only was I not prepared financially, but I had lost the opportunity for his guidance on what I should do moving forward, especially with our business. We had our financial documents, but they weren’t adequate for what I needed after his death. So, in addition to dealing with the gut-wrenching agony of losing Sam, I was also dealing with the very stressful and anxiety-ridden topic of how in the world I was going to move forward, both financially and without his guidance.

Being prepared for a Life Event centers around two main topics – financial documents and conversations with your loved ones. Action steps you can take in those areas:

  • Gather your important documents together
  •  Review the documents with your significant other or a loved one to become familiar with them and their contents, if you feel comfortable doing so
  • Make an appointment with appropriate professional advisors to review the documents and determine if they are adequate for a Life Event
  • Have regular conversations with your significant other and/or family members about the basics of your financial documents and/or situation

This can sometimes be an overwhelming topic to think about, let alone move forward. However, it is very important not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones. Acknowledgement, education and setting intentions, as with anything, is the key to moving forward.

Join Jane Helm and myself on May 25th as we lead the ‘Be You . . . Be Intentional’ seminar centered around being intentional with your financial life. For Details and registration information, click here


Today’s author, Karen Smith Racicot is a business and life coach assisting women and business owners with organizing their inventory of financial documents and being better prepared for a Life Event. She enjoys helping clients create more structure and organization in their financial life, assisting them with developing a path toward their life and financial goals.
Karen is the President of the Women’s Business Network, an Affiliate Coach with the Wholistic Women’s Retreats, a 2014 graduate of the Chamber’s Leadership Frederick County program, and a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Middletown. Visit her website for information on working with Karen.