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  • Brigitte Bromberg

Predictable Surprises

Benjamin Franklin famously penned "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." That was back in 1789. Relative to the topic of inevitability, I'd like to add one more item to death and taxes: change.


Plans change. Our interests and preferences change. Situations change, too. Where children live can change. Taxes may be inevitable, but the terms of the taxes change regularly, too!


Human beings are pretty much hard-wired to resist change. We become comfortable with what we know. From the infant who responds well to a schedule, to the adult who exercises daily at the same time of day, we tend to like routine.


Another way of saying it is we have a distaste for change.


When we do seek change - we're pretty selective in the pursuit. A vacation is a temporary change of scenery. We move to a new home or look for a new job - motivated by the pursuit of happiness or another goal.


We can more easily embrace happy changes such as new homes and jobs. But unhappy changes are unsettling - and we can easily avoid even the thought of such a thing. Considering the ideas that a recession could drop the value of the new home, or that a takeover could cause the new job to disappear, makes most people very uncomfortable.


When unhappy things like this happen they can barely be described as surprises. They have happened to other people. We're read about them. We've even met people who have lived through the experiences.


No matter how much we prefer to avoid the fact that they could happen to us, they are not out of the realm of possibility. More accurately, they could be called predictable surprises.

Ever talk to a parent who has dropped off their youngest or only child at college, and is bereft at the loss? The months before they were happily barreling through the college selection process and high school graduation planning. Then, the big change happened. And somehow, the event itself, and the logical aftermath of the change, for this parent - can be a surprise.


Onlookers would say it is a predictable surprise.


How about a newly widowed person? A profound change. Yet death and taxes are certain, so the death of a spouse is another example of a predictable surprise.


With wills, trusts, life insurance, purchasing plots, and the like, we certainly plan for death. And we plan for taxes.


Bodies change. Health changes. So, for most of us, the need for long term care is a predictable surprise.


Isn't it time to now plan for how we will pay for the unhappy change - but predictable surprise - called a long term care need?


Brigitte Bromberg, MS, CFP®, CSA® is an independent insurance specialist who provides unbiased, consultative, solutions for long term care, life and disability insurance needs.

For more than 30 years Brigitte has worked diligently to provide clients the information and insight they need to make informed insurance decisions. President of Winning Strategies Group LLC, Brigitte loves speaking to groups, and she also loves helping people implement creative, smart insurance strategies.