Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 21, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

A time to ponder things


Real life.

My brother and I have logged hundreds of kilometres over the past three weeks. We walk twice a day and those walks are somewhere between 1-3 hours. Besides admiring the scenery, we talk a lot about politics, sports and food. (He is an amazing cook) Living, aging and dying are also regular menu items. We also have periods of silence when nothing needs to be said. We have seen magnificent sunrises, gotten drenched a few times and usually stop for a coffee along the way.

Dying, you say? Both of us are north of sixty and one of us (me) is closer to seventy, so discussing health matters and our ultimate demise is not all that unusual. And because neither of us fears death, we speak about it openly. I believe that baby boomers are getting better at discussing these kinds of weighty matters. Death will not be swept under the rugs and avoided in conversations. Actually, some boomers think they’re going to live forever!

When I was in the financial planning business, estate planning was always at the top of my list for retirees. There’s not much point in toiling all your life in order to enjoy retirement without properly planning for the unexpected (disability or dementia come to mind) or the expected (death).

I promise that I will not be preachy but, if you haven’t already done so, I would urge everyone to make certain that they have a current will, power of attorney and personal directive. Here’s a brief primer: a will deals with your estate upon death. You need one or more executors to carry out your wishes. They don’t have to be legal scholars. An enduring power of attorney gives someone the right to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated in some way. This person (persons) typically handles all financial matters during a period of incapacity. They can pay your bills and make all other financial decisions as if they were you. Obviously, this person(s) need to be extremely trustworthy. A personal directive (living will) is most commonly used for making medical decisions. In this document, you lay out in detail how you want health care matters to be managed when you are in failing health. It could include such things as a “do not resuscitate” order.

Even if you don’t have a large nest egg or significant assets, having these documents will provide you with peace of mind and peace of mind for your loved ones. It’s just the responsible thing to do.

End of sermon.

The movies.

For someone who sees about one movie every ten years, I have been on a movie tear in the past month. I saw “Mary Poppins” with my granddaughter in December before coming out west… a movie ideally suited for the young or young at heart.

In recent days, I have seen “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “A Star is Born”, and “Green Book”. If you’re a fan of Freddy Mercury and Queen, this is a must see. Prior to seeing “A Star is Born” I knew nothing about Lady Gaga, the lead role if this remake. Wow! What a set of pipes. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and am now viewing the documentary on Lada Gaga’s life story.

While I enjoyed all of the above movies, my clear favourite was “Green Book”. It’s the true story of an African American piano player who is planning a tour of the Deep South during a time marked by racial tensions. Sadly, many of these tensions are surfacing south of the border again. Some would suggest that they never left but were merely in hibernation. The piano player hires an Italian from New York as his chauffeur (and body guard). The “green book” was used by African Americans as a guide to which hotels to stay in, the restaurants where they were permitted to eat, washrooms they could use etc. It is a powerful story of the ugly face of racism. But it is much more than this. I won’t spoil it for you. Go and see it. This is a timely movie during African Heritage month.

Have a great week.

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