John’s 2024 New Year’s Resolutions

It is the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions.  During a recent NPR broadcast, a motivational psychologist stated that most people do not succeed in New Year’s resolutions because they set their goals too high. John is sharing some of his resolutions for 2024 and grouped them into three resolution categories: estate planning, professional, and personal.

We wish all of you a Happy New Year and hope that you will consider contacting us if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to update your estate plan.

Estate Planning Resolutions

  1. Organize Your Digital Information – For many of us, we handle almost all of financial transactions through websites and apps. Chances are good you don’t have all your various usernames and passwords collected in one safe place. Recording and securing your passwords could be very important if something happens to you and those in charge of your affairs need that information. I encourage you to consider ways to safely maintain this information and would be happy to discuss some options.
  2. Think About Incapacity Planning – If you have worked with our office, we have helped you with your power of attorney documents and you know estate planning isn’t only about what happens after you die; it’s also about making sure your wishes are honored if you become incapacitated at any point in your life. That being said, have you discussed your wishes with your current and successor Agents? These conversations are important so that your decision makers already have a sense of your wishes and are not gleaning that information for the first time when they have to use your Power of Attorney. Our firm’s Estate Planning Organizer is a great tool to help organize your planning wishes and important documents and if necessary, is a great resource for your decisions makers when acting on your behalf.
  3. Consolidate Your Finances if Possible – If you have multiple checking and savings accounts at various institutions, several 401(k)s at former employers, and investment accounts at a number of brokerage houses, close the ones that you like the least and move your assets to the ones you like the best (please make sure that for any retirement accounts you’re following the rollover rules so you don’t accidentally cause a taxable event!). Diversification of financial providers is not diversification of investments or assets and often results in duplication of efforts and an inability for someone to see the big picture. Plus, it’s much easier for your loved ones to manage things on your behalf or wind up your finances when they are dealing with fewer institutions.

Professional Resolutions

  1. Invest in Myself – With the launch of our firm, Matt and I put forth a lot of effort in learning how to run a business and there continues to be a lot to learn (much appreciation to our families and coworkers as we continue on this journey). Time is a precious commodity in any profession and while some tasks are certainly necessary, it is important to make sure time is set aside to keep learning. It can be easy thing to skip or put on the back burner, but by investing in myself, I am becoming a better lawyer for my clients and my firm. 
  2. Make Better Use of My Time – Time is certainly a theme with many of my resolutions, but time is key in any discussion of how effective an attorney is. It is important to have a team in place (thankfully we do!) and the available resources (often technology) to allow all of us to be efficient in completing our tasks. I’m going to give the Pomodoro Technique a try, maybe with some modifications, and see if I notice a difference with my time management.
  3. Set Better Processes – Our team is great and we work together to bring a lot of value to our clients. As we continue to learn and grow as a team, part of my role is to make sure we continually improve our process so that it supports our team’s performance and we can more easily maintain our high standards and effectively assist even more clients.

Personal Resolutions

  1. Be Present – There are so many aspects of our lives that are legitimately busy and call for us to focus our attention on that particular task, but often our attention is drawn to something when we really should be focused on something or someone else. For me, this is certainly true with my smartphone and I am keenly aware of how frequently the device finds its way out of my pocket and into my palm, if for no other reason than simply to look at it. Less screen time is a goal in nearly all circumstances, but when I am with my friends and family and particularly with my daughter and son, it is an absolute must to keep my phone away.
  2. Stretch More – I am sure that every year I intend to be healthier, whether diet or exercise, and that is no different this year. That being said, I am going to focus on something different and stretch more. I have never been the most flexible person even when I was more physically fit, but I am going to make a concerted effort to add stretching to my routine!
  3. Stay in Touch With Those Important to You – We all lead busy lives with so many priorities pulling at us, it is easy to stay in your bubble of work, home, repeat. When I think about this, I often remember a blog post I read about 10 years ago, which essentially illustrated that life is brief and we should prioritize our time with people that are important to us since as we get older our opportunities to spend time with those individuals gets smaller and smaller. The post is written by Tim Urban and he says: “If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.” It is worth the few minutes to read the full post and here is the link to “The Tail End” by Tim Urban.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

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