Paradise Lost


I want to talk about the concept of Paradise Lost. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this last week because of the wildfire on Maui in Hawaii. I had the same thought about a year ago when the hurricane went through Florida. These events make me think of the paradises around us that are here today and gone tomorrow. Last September, I was supposed to be speaking at a national financial conference in Tampa Bay, Florida. At the last minute, all flights were canceled. There was a hurricane that went through and destroyed areas that I once loved.

We have been fortunate on a few different occasions during our marriage to be able to spend time on Sanibel Island, Florida. The very first time was with our 6 and 9-year-old children who are now in their 30s. It was Christmas Day and the beach hardly had anybody on it because everyone was at Disney World instead. We walked up and down the beach and it was paradise. It was one of the most wonderful vacations our family ever took. It was truly magical. When that hurricane came through last year, the cabins that we had used a few times were obliterated. The road is still there, but Castaways Resort is gone, only sand remains.

Some years ago, we were blessed enough to be able to spend a holiday in Maui. It was in the middle of winter, which is when people typically like to leave Wisconsin. We enjoyed going through the Old town, which no longer exists. We enjoyed the restaurants. We enjoyed the shops. We enjoyed watching the whales jumping and the ships coming in and out. It was paradise. In just a few short hours, paradise has been lost.

In both of these cases, I’m talking about beautiful places that I have been fortunate to just visit. For the people who lived in Sanibel or lived in Maui, that paradise was their everyday life. It makes me think of my everyday paradise. From my vantage point, I can look to the east and to the west, and I can see the beautiful bluffs of the Mississippi Valley. I am so blessed to live in what we refer to as God’s country, the greater lacrosse area. No matter where you live in your life, there is a paradise to it. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of comfort in your own hometown.

What happens when paradise is lost? Are you putting together a plan so that your paradise can be rebuilt? What are you doing in your life to make certain that your paradise can be recreated once more? Much of what we do in our office focuses on the daily planning and the work that goes towards the final destination of, typically, retirement, but we also plan for Paradise Lost. I’m talking about that person who might be 45-65 today, and I try to envision what life will be like for them when they’re 85-95+ years old. I will often ask them to think of when they are the little old man or the little old lady using a walker. Have I done what I needed to do? Have we established a plan together to safeguard against when paradise is lost, sometimes even just due to age? What are we doing to make certain that if something bad happens before then, you don’t lose paradise? We know that bad things sometimes just happen. We’ve all heard stories from family and friends. We know bad things happen to people. You should be planning for your own paradise lost.

When we meet with couples for the very first time, if they don’t have a Will, I will make it mandatory that they get one by working with a qualified attorney. We will make certain that a Will, along with financial powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and disposition forms are completed to prepare families for paradise lost. We make certain that their disability coverage through work is maximized because accidents and disabilities are more common than you think, and we want to make certain that they will be okay. We also know that if there is an unexpected death, that can destroy a family and be their paradise lost.

Consider what you’re doing right now. Consider what has occurred at places like Sanibel Island or at Maui this year. I think of these and other instances every time a person or family comes into our office. What are you doing to protect yourself against paradise lost? If you would like to connect with us because you understand what I’m saying today, please reach out.  Let’s make certain that your paradise is not lost.

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