Rest in Peace, E.T.F. A Love Letter from a Dead Man and a Net Worth Update
He’s got a goal of $3.3 Million, or enough to have an allowance of $100,000 a year with a very safe 3% withdrawal rate.
He’s seen hardship in his personal life lately, which prompted him to pen this piece. Read on for his love letter and an update on his progress towards financial independence.
Rest in Peace, E.T.F.
Did I get your attention?
Breaking news! You are going to die. Sorry to be the bearer of this morbid information. Sadder still, the fact you’re the one reading this article probably means you are the financial nerd in your family. What happens when your other half has to take over control of the household finances suddenly? I know that you might think discussing low expense ratios and the 4% rule is quite exciting, your partner likely does not.
Young E.T.F. had a brilliant idea during residency to take his wife on a romantic date and discuss the merits of index funds. Let us just say, right thought, poor execution. I have made rapid improvements in my approach since this sad episode.
Mrs. E.T.F. is brilliant, but personal finance is not her first-choice leisure activity. She is an active participant in our financial planning, but I handle day to day details. We try very hard to walk this life together, and that extends to personal finance. Therefore, if I get hit by the proverbial bus, I want her to be able to move forward financially without a hitch.
This topic has taken on particular relevance after the recent deaths of people around me at young ages. I have had a first-hand view of the lives of the loved ones left behind, and the sights are not pretty. Simple questions such as the location of bank accounts’, and the cost of monthly bills were met with blank stares. Leaving my wife in a similar position is one of my greatest fears.
That sickening feeling I had in my gut trying to help a friend prompted the writing of this article. I want to be able to leave simple instructions that can be easily interpreted by Mrs. ETF. I decided the instructions must fit on an index card.
Love Letter From a Dead Man
If you are reading this, I miss you and love you:
1. Pull out the thumb drive (Banking information, Retirement Accounts, Investment Plan, Life Insurance Information, Passwords, Recent Tax Returns, Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificates, Credit Report)
2. Get a legal pronouncement of death, call the funeral home, obtain 15 copies of the death certificate
3. Take my will to a board-certified estate attorney (Get multiple copies of letters testamentary)4. Inform Life Insurance Companies and obtain payouts
5. Call social security for survivor benefits
6. Cancel other insurances, my accounts, and make yourself primary on credit card accounts
7. Call my employer about benefits
8. Inform credit bureaus of death
9. File last tax return
10. Investments: Option A. Bogleheads three fund portfolio. Option B. Hire Vanguard to manage the investments (Vanguard Personal Advisor Service)
I suggest everyone reading this article create something similar for a loved one if you pass. This simple exercise highlighted my mortality. I have hugged and kissed my wife and children a lot since I started working on this piece. I noticed I take too many things for granted until I had to contemplate their absence. Hopefully, this index card is useful in one hundred years. I will be grateful each day for my blissful life.
Net Worth Update
Slow and steady will win this race. The massive market correction that will slingshot me past POF in my chase to beat the ten-year mark refuses to materialize. I think I should start speculating on bitcoin or maybe the Iraqi dinar, or better still the lottery. Someone has to win, right!
On second thought, I will just stick to index funds and get my thrills elsewhere.
Please comment below on anything you would add to the index card, it’s a living project, so I want to continue to optimize it. Thanks, and see you soon.
[PoF: As he states, E.T.F. is making steady progress. While the dip in February didn’t help, he has seen his household net worth grow by more than $20,000 since we last heard from him a couple months ago.
He remains invested aggressively, with a 100% stock allocation in his non-cash investments.
I have yet to create such a love letter, but the information on the site, and the fact that my wife has read it all, is a step in the right direction.]
Follow Ether to FI’s progress to FI in his previous posts:
- Post 1: Introducing Ether to FI: A New Attending Striving for Financial Independence. Net worth $80,283
- Post 2: Ether to FI: Obeying WCI’s Ten Commandments & Net Worth Update. Net worth $145,194
- Post 3: Ether to FI: Home Days & Net Worth Update Net worth $176,674
- Post 4: Rest in Peace, E.T.F. A Love Letter from a Dead Man and a Net Worth Update. Net Worth $197,061
- Post 5: Ether to FI: Mrs. E.T.F., Are We on the Same Page? Net Worth $228,109
- Post 6: Ether to FI: Shifting Focus from the “FI” to the “RE” and a Net Worth Update. Net Worth $335,248
- Post 7: Ether to FI: Don’t Call it Retirement (and a Net Worth Update). Net worth $364,089
- Post 8: Ether to FI: Frugal Spouses: The FI Superpower & a Net Worth Update. Net Worth $429,155
Have you written a financial “love letter” from beyond the grave? Do you know how your household money would be managed in your absence?