Introduction to Estate Planning: Wish Lists and the Purpose of Money

Everyone needs a wish list in life.

A wish list is a list of everything and anything you could possibly want to make your life complete. A wish list is more than just a list of information though; in fact it is the equivalent of a compass point. When you make your wish list it becomes the “magnetic north” in the journey of life. Many have noted with curiosity the experience of making such a list when younger and then after finding it years later realizing they have actually accomplished many of the things they wrote down so long ago. That my friend, is the power of the wish list.

How do you go about making a wish list?
Simple. You let yourself dream, you let your imagination roam and you decide in your mind that there are no boundaries to what you do, say, accomplish or have. Anything is possible. Everything is fair game. When you have established this frame of mind then get the pen and paper out and begin writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. You may want to do this over a period of weeks and even after you are finished it is advisable to go back to the list and add to it and revise it as life changes as well as your goals and values. So make the list now, but remember a wish list is always a work in progress.

A wish list should also be consulted when you are creating goals for yourself.
In a nutshell each item on your wish list should have certain things that need to be accomplished and activities that need to be pursued in order for that goal to come to fruition. Thus, we would consider each of these underlying activities a task that needs to be scheduled and planned in your daily life.

Some of you may be wondering what all of this has to do with money. The answer is EVERYTHING.

Money is not an end in itself.
Money is a means to an end and that is something that everyone needs to remind themselves of from time to time. This point is driven home in the story of a financial advisor who set down to work with a client of 85 years old to finalize his estate plan. The man had built what began as a small estate up to the sizable sum of 8 million dollars. Unfortunately, the man had also recently lost his wife of 40 years. It was during the discussion of how the money was to be dispersed that the man had the sudden realization that the money he had spent his entire life stockpiling would never be used for his or his wives enjoyment or benefit and therefore it was essentially worthless.

He talked about how he should have taken more vacations with his wife and how he should have enjoyed it while he was able. Needless to say both the man and his financial advisor learned an important lesson that day. For one of them it was too late to apply in life.

Don’t let this be your story. Enjoy your wealth and let it provide the road to a happier and more fulfilling life for both you and your family. Again, money is simply a medium of exchange. It is an important lesson that many realize too late.

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