With life half over, it’s time to set priorities

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By Gary Shelton
Wesco Insurance

As I sat down a few weeks ago to watch Super Bowl LIII (53 for those of you that are Roman Numeral challenged), I quickly realized that I am older than the Super Bowl. It’s amazing how many things remind me of my age nowadays. I calculated that I had been around for a little over two years before the Packers beat the Chiefs 35-10 in the first Super Bowl in 1967.

Honestly, for many reasons, my interest in the NFL has declined over the years. After the Chiefs got eliminated this year, I really didn’t care who won. The lowest scoring Super Bowl game in history was boring, the halftime show was inappropriate, and the commercials were nothing great. Looking back, I should have done something else with that precious time that I can’t get back.

Back to my age……. I am older than the Super Bowl. I’ve learned that there are several things in life that you should revisit, reevaluate or consider for the first time once you have hit halftime of your life expectancy. In my opinion, here are just a few of the things that should be part of the second half game plan for your life.

Take a look at your life insurance. You may need more. You may need less. Maybe you’ve lost some weight, or quit using tobacco and can get better rates than you previously have.

Maybe a term policy for 10, 20 or 30 years will be sufficient for your situation. I’ve seen what it looks like when someone dies and they don’t have enough life insurance. It’s not pretty.

Examine how much personal liability coverage you have. Consider raising the limits on your auto policy. Raise the personal liability insurance on your homeowner’s policy as high as your policy will allow. This can drastically improve your protection and it’s cheap. The more assets you have to lose, the more protection you need. If you still need more coverage, consider purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy. A million dollars of coverage can cost less than $200 per year. Don’t let an unfortunate accident wipe you out.

Consider using a Health Savings Account (HSA). The high deductible health plan will reduce your premium, and the deposits you make into the HSA account will provide you with a tax deduction. I am convinced that until the cost of medical services are brought under control, nobody is going to figure out how to significantly lower the cost of health insurance. The cost of medical services directly affects the cost of health insurance, yet nobody seems to be addressing the problem from this viewpoint. Health Savings Accounts are one of the best ways currently available to lower health insurance premiums. And tax advantages are always good. If you’re lucky and don’t have to use it, the HSA account can grow and become a nice savings for later in life. HSA’s funds are not use it or lose it as many people mistakenly believe.

Set up a trust and create a will. You don’t need to be wealthy for a sound financial plan to be of benefit to you. Find a professional and get your affairs in order. Ask friends for a referral to someone they know. It makes things much less complicated for everyone moving forward. Make certain that you include an Advanced Directive and Power of Attorney in your plans. My daughter is a nurse and some of her worst memories on the job are of family members fighting in the waiting room about what direction their loved one’s health care should take. Decide for yourself ahead of time.

Plan your own funeral. I know this one is kind of creepy, but it is the last act of love that you can complete for your family and loved ones. I’ve even considered recording a song and singing at my own funeral. How cool would that be? Having the plot secured, the casket picked out and the services arranged can ensure that the people you love most won’t have to deal with making these decisions immediately after suffering such a crushing loss. Father Time is undefeated, so do this for the people you love.

Finally, slow down. Be kind. Enjoy the little things. Grandkids are the greatest thing ever. Realize that each day is a blessing, so don’t waste it all knotted up because your team didn’t win, or your candidate didn’t win, or things at work didn’t go exactly as planned. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.

Gary Shelton is co-owner of Wesco Insurance Agency in Yukon.