A Financial Guide for When Tragedy Strikes
Sadly, death is a part of life. It’s a time of emotional chaos. When faced with the aftermath of tragedy, most of us find ourselves ill prepared. I’ve coached many through this unfortunate period. I’ve even had to deal with this in my own family. If this post can help just one person handle the tragedy of death, I’ll consider it a success.
So, what do we need to cover to cope with the fallout of losing a loved one?
Get a support system.
This will present itself in a few ways:
- Friends that will be there for you all hours of the day or night.
- Family that knows your pain and can relate on a similar level.
- Someone who can guide you through any religious or spiritual aspects.
- Gather your professional team, such as an accountant, attorney, and financial planner. (Make sure you really trust and like these people; you are about to lean on them in ways you’ve never imagined.)
Take everything slow.
Don’t rush. Don’t worry about the days (and weeks) to come. Things will fall into place. There will be help. The time needed to address everything will work out.
Remember, patience is a virtue. Your natural instincts are to rush to make major life changes. You may want to sell your home or move away. While those may be prudent choices, wait until you have a clear head to make a truly informed decision. Wait one year until any major life changes. This first year should be about healing.
Write everything down.
Information will bombard you from every direction. Anyone dealing with this pain isn’t functioning at full capacity; you won’t retain all this data. Keep a notebook (or a phone with a note app) with you at all times. Write down everything as you’ll want these records as you go through this process. When ready, make sure your records are in order enough to hand off to one of your trusted professionals.
Get a census.
Now it’s time to start taking a tally of everything your spouse owned and how it’s titled. You’ll need to know about life insurance, property, retirement plans, investment accounts, cash accounts, and other assets of real value. This will all be important as you get to the next step.
Put everyone on notice.
It’s imperative to contact all relevant people and entities to inform about the recent passing. You’ll need to communicate to: employers, attorneys, accountants, financial planners, insurance companies, investment companies, insurance brokers, Social Security, and more. Each of these entities will require different things to ensure an easy transition. Additionally, there will also be benefits to which you are entitled.
Get multiple copies of the death certificate.
You’ll need these copies as you start reaching out to everyone. Get at least 15-20 copies. Your funeral director can usually help facilitate acquiring them. There may be a nominal cost; however, you’ll find the extra copies worth the time and money.
Get those legal documents.
Remember those wills and estate planning documents you did years ago? Now it is time to dust them off and recall the wishes of the deceased. You’ll also have to submit a claim through the states and probate court to settle the estate. This is typically a costly and arduous process. Be prepared; on average a small estate still takes about 9 months to settle. Be patient; you’ll need it! A professional’s help will also ease some of that burden, although come with a cost.
Update and change records.
As with putting everyone on notice, there are many places to update. Everything from utilities to vehicle registration. Again, make a list of EVERYTHING you/they have. Be as comprehensive as possible. If you weren’t the one handling these kinds of things, get credit card bills and bank records. This will help you see who and when you paid. Add them to your list, take a few days, and then start dialing away. It was therapeutic for me to notify places and check them off my list when my father passed.
Once you start contacting places, you’ll recognize the need to cancel. From your list there will be automatic withdrawals, membership payments, and plenty more. The last thing you want is to send money somewhere where it’s no longer needed. It’s much easier than trying to explain your situation when asking for it back.
Lastly, focus on you.
I recognize it’s hard to do, especially if you are living through this right now. But, it is true; now is the time to handle your finances. Update your information to represent the new normal for you. Work with someone to figure out the new possibilities. Take it one day at a time.
Handling your financial health is important, but you also need to focus on your physical and mental health. It’s all interconnected. Ignoring these tasks will only make things more difficult. Plus, I’m certain it isn’t what your loved ones would have wanted.
Again, I do hope this article can help as many people as possible. Although only briefly touching on many different aspects, feel free to request a download of the full widow checklist here: Widow Checklist. I encourage you to share this post with others that may find in helpful.
I’ll leave you with a quote and thought that helped me through some dark times from one of the greats. As Paul McCartney said, “The love you make is equal to the love you take.”
Let’s all be thankful for the enrichment we’ve had by these people (instead of focusing on the void now left). Keep them in your heart, and smile when remembering them.
China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity
Written by: Jeremie Capron
China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.
For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.
You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.
Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.
As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.
Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.
To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.
Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.
Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.
Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.
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