And then there’s the age-old question, What if I won the lottery and suddenly had $100 million to share with my family and friends.
I’ve spent hours thinking about all the things I could do with that kind of money, and how it “wouldn’t change me.”
But the question of “what if” took on a more somber line of thinking this week when I met with my financial planner.
He gets paid for keeping his best eye on our money and asking me hard questions.
During our meeting he pulled up the numbers and began to talk me through the things he saw.
Then his face turned a bit solemn. “These numbers represent what I see if things never change,” he said.
“But what if you die on your drive home?” Those words struck deeply and rattled me a little.
I guess he could see the look on my face changed from my normal “Living a Dream” face to a more contemplative one.
He apologized for the blunt delivery, but I understand that it’s his job to ask the hard questions. He led me through several scenarios and what impact each could potentially have on our nest egg.
After the meeting we said our goodbyes, and my drive home felt much different than the drive over. I felt older.
In thinking about his question, what would happen to my lovely spouse Jilda if something happened to me?
Not only would she have to find someone to wash her car, and take out the garbage, but she’d also have to give serious thought to her future — how she would survive with less money coming in.
On the other side of that coin was what I’d do if something happened to her.
Thoughts flew at me like an angry hive of yellow jackets.
I realize I should have been thinking in these terms much sooner, but normally I will not let my mind dwell on the negative for too long. I don’t think it’s healthy.
In my mind, my life has always been a rainbow, and I knew what awaited me at the end.
Today is my 63rd birthday, but it’s also treatment day for Jilda, and as I type these words, I’m sitting in the corner of the cafeteria at Simon Williamson Clinic. A few years ago, spending so much time here wouldn’t have crossed my mind, but things change.
I guess that’s what my money guy was telling me — things change.
While I refuse to live my life like I’m living on borrowed time, I can tell you that there are things I will do over the coming weeks and months.
I think John F. Kennedy said it best when he said, “The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining.”
At the risk of sounding preachy, my advice this week is to ask yourself the hard question — “What if.”
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.