Knowing when to pause

As this year began, I was filled with an amazing amount of hope for how it would end. Little did I know how different it would end.

Financially, we are at a standstill because life has been put on pause. On Oct 13, 2018, my mother died unexpectedly. I had a good relationship with her. Perhaps not surprisingly, her death has hit me hard.

There have been many financial lessons learned in the past month. As such, I’ve been thinking about writing on the following topics from a financial perspective:

  • Writing a will
  • How much one should spend on burying the dead
  • Life insurance
  • How to let your loved ones know where all the very important papers and logins are
  • Being prepared for a death

But now is not the time to write about such things. My heart is not into writing much. It’s hard enough getting through the day, let alone thinking of writing. Dave Ramsey likes to stress the personal in the phrase “personal finance,” and now is one of those times where I certainly see why he does that.

Left unchecked, I could very easily self-medicate through spending and consumption. Would a new Apple Watch or iPhone bring back a little fun? Would going out and purchasing a “project house” help occupy my mind in my non-work hours? Would replacing my decrepit car ease my pain a little during my daily drives?

The answer to any of those questions may very well be “yes.” However, the risk is very high that the answer could be “no,” or “only temporarily,” and so the only real answer in times of uncertainty and turmoil is “wait.”

The funny thing is, at this moment, I really don’t care about being debt free. It’s very, very low on my list of things I find important for the time being.

Right now, I’m in a period of reflection. There are some key points surrounding my mother’s death that are challenging my thoughts on my own views of personal finance, but I need to allow some time for my views to mature. I will definitely write about them, but now is not the time to do so.

For now, I will round out the year. I will work, I will spend time with my family, I will grieve, and keep repeating all those things. For now, I wait.

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