You might think that the title to this article indicates something ominous. Actually it is very happy and joyous, I just had not planned for it financially and that bothered me.
The Christmas of 2021, our whole family gathered together alongside the family of our son’s girlfriend. Our son and their daughter live and work in Washington DC and are both financially independent. He works for the Department of Commerce and is in the Army Reserve. She works for the Office of Management and Budget.
The day after Christmas, with each of their families gathered in our kitchen they announced their engagement. A very joyous occasion!
We have three daughters and one son. Since traditionally the groom’s parents only focus on the rehearsal dinner, supporting a son’s wedding is less of a stretch. After our son and future daughter-in-law announced their engagement I made a toast, “Here’s to one wedding we do not have to pay for,” thinking we would only pay for a dinner and hotel rooms for the children. The unexpected was when they informed us they were getting married in Germany. We had not planned for extra expenses for overseas airfare for the entire family, nor an extended stay from traveling several days in advance to avoid any travel issues. After I thought through it, we had indeed planned for his wedding, we just had to make some tweaks for a wedding in Germany.
Article after article submitted to the financial column of the newspaper by members and employees of our firms stress the importance of having a financial plan. Phyllis and I have a plan and it is reviewed on an annual basis. In the grand scheme of life, this was really just a happy blip on our financial planning screen.
Part of the planning process is thinking about the unexpected events of life that could challenge or wreck your plan. Having reserve liquid funds in place for things you are not expecting help to smooth over those events. No one can foresee the future or plan for everything, but having a plan, a budget, and knowing where your money is being spent goes a long way to realizing your life goals and protecting your family. Having eighteen months to plan for our son’s wedding gave us (in reality Phyllis) time to consider all the many things that have to come together and be paid for the special event.
Our oldest daughter has been married six years. She had a traditional pre-COVID wedding. Our oldest triplet daughter had the traditional wedding planned, but COVID hit and she eventually was married with just them, us, his parents and his grandparents. It was a fantastic and special wedding. After COVID ended, we offered to have a party for them, but being the practical engineer, she took the check instead. We have one single left and look forward to the day, whenever it may come, for her special event.
Let’s get back to how important financial planning is. Whether you are just entering the job market, raising and educating a family, thinking about retirement or in retirement; it is never too late to plan. Understanding where you are financially and where you need to be, at whatever stage of life you are in, is very important. Seriously consider contacting a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Make sure you have a qualified CPA and attorney on your team that work well together and get going.
Published in the Victoria Advocate
Lane Keller CPA/CFP® is a managing member of Keller & Associates CPAs, PLLC and KMH Wealth Management, LLC.