Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My latest wrestling with our home finances.....

I thought I would just post some of the finance thoughts and things I have been pondering these days. I have not written as often as I had in the past, so you may not have followed our families situation.

My wife passed away just before Christmas last month, so quite frankly, money has not been anywhere near the top of my priority these days. Not that it isn't important, but as my dad used to say..."Money doesn't make the world go around, but it sure greases the wheel."

But let's face it, taking care of my daughters and family affairs is top priority....because blood is thicker than money. ( I did a mash-up on a couple of old get the guist)

But I have to admit that I can't just "forget" money....neither Cheryl nor I were born with a silver spoon in our mouth....and life isn't free.

Neither Life nor Death Are Free:
So here are a couple of things that have come up that you might never have considered. First, passing away isn't inexpensive. Even if you have some form of insurance, it is at least a cash flow problem. Simple services and burial costs between $10,000 and say $13,000....and the cemetery plots up here in NH are actually quite reasonable. (my wife and my plots costs $750 per site with a cost of another $750 to "open" the site for burial...but remember this cost pays for upkeep of the cemetery forever. Even inexpensive when you consider it "by the acre" :-)

The funeral home arrangements were about $9300. (I don't think that is too personal to disclose) I never looked into these costs, but I guess I wasn't surprised by any of them. Then there were all the costs for various ceremonies and participants. (no, I will not itemize those....but they include donations to the priest, church, organist/singer, and other people who worked along the way...all donations, but customary)

But back to that comment I made about the NH funeral plots being inexpensive..... my cousin who came up from Florida for my wife's funeral, and he wants to be buried with his parents in Woburn Mass. He took a ride over to size it up and get a price for cemetery plots. (Not my idea of a fun time....but he wants to have all his ducks in a row so that he doesn't impact his mate when he passes away...hopefully many, many years from now)

Anyways....the plots there in Woburn cost $2200 each! (Both are Catholic Cemeteries too!) I knew land was cheaper here in NH, but that sort of difference is crazy.

So I suggest everyone at least consider how their passing will impact the remaining family members, and either set money aside or have some level of insurance.....I suppose that is a tough thing to consider, but it doesn't have to be. We talk about health and auto insurance and we clearly never want to use it just the same.

Short Term and Long Term Planning:
Besides this cash flow crunch, I have also been starting to think about my youngest daughter's desire to transfer to another college. Cheryl and I had a financial plan worked out where we have saved money to help our daughters get through college, so this is a topic we have discussed many times.

My focus now is around Kristen's desire to go on for her PhD.....and believe you me, I am thrilled that she understands the value and wants to do that! (My dad warned me not to stop my education because it would be tough to get back to it...and I have to say, my dad was 100% correct!)

So I'm not so much stressed about Kristen transfering (I am taking a week off from work to take a grand tour of a few colleges on the east coast with her soon)...nor am I too worried about her leaving $30,000 in scholarship money behind at Hofstra, since I do want to support her and Kim to the fullest. As we talked about this the other night, I realized that I just moved my investment portfolio on to a more "conservative" tack. (I am worried about our economy, the falling dollar, and the housing bubble....but you know I worry a lot less about it when I don't pay attention! the old saying is right-on: "Ignorance is bliss!!!")

So I guess I need to add one more item to my massive "to-do" again look at our long term financial plan for everything and re-balance it given a slightly higher (and longer) cost of college.

But like I noted earlier....I have my priorities....and unless the market is crashing down around my ears, I have more pressing priorities at the my kids! The finances can wait until they get back to school and I get back to my empty house. (not actually empty at the moment with both my girls and my mother in-law here right now :-)

I hope this sort of BLOG entry isn't so boring or "frightening" as to turn people off....please bear with me as we get through our family problems. I will attempt to keep all my posts at least tangentially related to personal finance...and perhaps bring up topics like this that some may not even consider thinking about. (but will probably unfortunately affect every one of us at some point in our lives)

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Blogger Janice said...

Your posts are not frightening, nor boring. Until someone has a death in their family they don't have a clue about the real issues they face. I am administrator of my sister's estate (she died a year ago without a will), and have had a lot of surprises.

Keep up the good work with your blog.


10:46 AM EST  
Blogger Bigqueue said...

Thanks so much for the comment and support. Yes, a death is something that most people don't really want to even think many probably have no plans made for it. (we probably think more about what we would do in a nuclear accident than death....yet we are ALL going to die at some point)

Thanks for your comments

8:39 PM EST  

Homes have become much more affordable.

3:19 PM EDT  

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