Dolores O’Riordon, the lead singer for the Cranberries, is dead. She died at 46 years of age.
For many of us, who came of age in the 90s, Ms. O’Riordon and the Cranberries provided significant entries on the soundtrack of our lives. Songs like Linger and Just My Imagination come to mind.
I could have started this blogpost by saying something like, Ms. O’Riordon passed away or Ms. O’Riordon shuffled off this mortal coil or Ms. O’Riordon went to the great beyond. The reality is all of those things we typically say when someone dies are ways in which we try to soften the blow of having lost someone.
Reflecting on Ms. O’Riordon’s death, I began wonder if we do ourselves a disservice by using euphemisms to describe death.
The reality is, we are all going to die. The question is whether or not we make the most of life while we have it to live. And, whether or not we plan for when we are no longer here, so that our families may maintain continuity in their lifestyles and not fall prey to sudden financial misery.
I have been privileged to have an interesting dual career path. On the one hand, I began working in the financial services industry, on Wall Street (not figuratively on Wall Street, literally on Wall Street) back in 1995. I have also been a professional firefighter almost 19 years and am now a fire captain.
As a financial services professional and a professional firefighter, I have been privy to the deaths of a variety of people over the years. Interestingly, most of the people who I have come in contact with who have died did so in ways which would not make for newspaper headlines.
As a firefighter, most of the calls I have been on where people died, were cases of someone sitting in a chair watching television or eating one moment and then the next moment they were laying face down on their floor, dead. I am an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) as well as a firefighter, so I am always hopeful that on a call where someone is unresponsive, I might be able to provide some lifesaving intervention until the person can be brought to a hospital.
Lamentably, much of the time, the person who occasioned the call is already gone (notice the euphemism and how we so naturally slip it in to protect ourselves from our perception of the harshness of death.)
As a financial services professional I am often struck by the difference between those people who plan for their demise (euphemism again) and those folks who do not. In my experience, both groups of people dearly love their families. And both groups of people want the very best for their families. However, one of those groups cannot bear to bring themselves to deal with the inevitable – death – and so ultimately their families are left unprotected.
Not only are families left vulnerable when people fail to plan, but the person who is the main breadwinner, who has not come to grips with the need to properly plan for their death, is often plagued with guilt and a feeling of not having met their responsibilities. This is not a good feeling. It is certainly no way to live.
Dolores O’Riordon died at only 46 years of age. Tom Petty, another great musician, died a few months ago at 66 – not old, by any stretch of the imagination.
Now, part of our self-protective wiring is to immediately begin to make rationalizations about why other people died prematurely but how somehow that will not be our fate. The reality is, however, tomorrow is promised to no one.
That salient truth hit me particularly hard on September 12th, 2001 when I went to ground zero – where the World Trade Center had been – in lower Manhattan and lent a hand with my fellow firefighters in what turned out to be a largely fruitless search for survivors.
For the sake of your peace of mind and your family’s future, please consider some planning that will help your family in the event of your dying before your time. I could have said, “in the event of your untimely demise” but I would be doing you a disservice. Death is part of life. Planning for it can bring you a sense of serenity, as well as putting your family in a better position for the future.
You might want to speak with a compassionate yet plain spoken financial services professional about how best to plan. Take action now. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
Scott R. McGimpsey January 24th, 2018
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Brokerage Services Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC