Unexpectedly, my dad passed away. I spent the week with my family, so no FinCon for me in 2015.
As a result of this experience, I learned even more about myself, money and the importance of minimalism.
1. Get with a lawyer to create a living will.
In the event something happens to either of us, a living will would help the other half breathe a little easier. I don’t know that anyone expects to pass suddenly, so that shouldn’t preclude us from having living wills. However, the recent troubles have put a living will in the forefront of our minds. We’re going to meet with a lawyer soon to obtain a living will and advance directive.
2. Purchase life insurance.
When we looked into this a few years ago, it made me so anxious to meet with the insurance agent that I had to leave the room. I didn’t want to think about death, certainly not the financial mess that accompanies it. I need to schedule another meeting for us. Life insurance is something we need to learn more about. With the fewer expenses in our lives, we shouldn’t require a lot of insurance, so it’s really for the peace of mind.
3. Eliminate all debt as quickly as possible.
Having the big house is a liability and puts us at risk should either of us pass away. We’re doing what we can to get rid of this house as quickly as possible, because when debts outnumber assets, bad things happen. In another month, we won’t have any credit card debt. And in another year, we won’t have student loan debt. Never have I been more committed to eliminating debt than I am today.
Update: We’re totally debt free!
4. Set aside an emergency fund.
We don’t have an emergency fund, and we just put a bunch of money to the small house. You just never know what expenses will come up, so we’re going to work on our emergency fund over the next year. No idea how much we really need in our emergency fund — this is going to require some research to know how much to save and where to keep an emergency fund.
5. Declutter, donate, sell, declutter some more.
We continue our effort to downsize and minimalize, particularly since the small house has too little storage to retain the things we “might need” one day. In the last week, we’ve stepped up our decluttering effort so that in the event something happens to me, no one has to worry about donating stuff we accumulated because we didn’t declutter. As aspiring minimalists, we’re working to retain only what we need (and never has this been more applicable or important).
6. Every challenge is an opportunity to improve.
Looking to find some small speck of light in these dark times, I look for the opportunity to take a challenging situation and turn it into a learning experience. Perhaps this should be number one on this list, but I’m not that concerned with order. Rather, I’m more concerned with the continuous execution of continuous improvement. These aren’t items to check off a to-do list. We live a life of continuous improvement. Simply having a living will isn’t good enough–it will become a document we review every time we acquire a new asset. And decluttering isn’t a one-time activity–we’re mindful of how quickly stuff accumulates, so we continue to eliminate what we can and refrain from bringing unnecessary items into our home.
On another note…
We moved. We’ll have our last small house construction update for your Wednesday. It’s been an awesome experience. Coming back from Dad’s funeral, I wanted a distraction, so we started moving within a day of returning.
Purchasing a new, “tiny” house was most certainly the right move for us. After a full week of being in our new home, I can already see the stress of dealing with a mortgage dissipate–yeah, we have to continue paying for the other house, but the end is nigh.