Financial Planner 43551

Estate Sale

In Retirement Thinking, The Insider by Adam Cufr

When’s the last time you went to an estate sale? I think the last time I went to one it was just after the 90s ended, so it’s been a while. And after my recent experience, I think it’ll be a while until I visit another.

The mission was clear: a house on a gorgeous piece of property was coming to the market in a couple of weeks and the estate sale allowed us an opportunity to tour the house before it became an active listing. Carie and I planned to see the house and make a decision as to whether we wanted to pursue it as the final stop for our family, our last house (as if we can predict such things). As I made my way through the house, it became clear to me that it was going to require much more work, time, and money than I had available, so it was mission accomplished, let’s call it off. Then I poked my head into an upstairs bedroom to find my wife, Carie, standing in front of a full-length mirror wearing one of many fur coats for sale. She turned to me with the grin of a child and said, “This lady had style!” My only possible response was the one I gave, “Dear, I’ll be waiting in the car.” Mission not necessarily accomplished.

An estate sale can be an opportunity to one person, to find treasure among another person’s prized and not-so-prized possessions. Or it can be what it is to me, a bunch of strangers picking over my things after my time is up and I’m no longer in need of any of it. I find it all very sad. Carie, and the other ladies in the fur coat and shoes room, found it exhilarating. To each his own I suppose.

When we look ahead to how it all ends for us, it’s worth considering a couple of things:

  1. Is my legacy going to be a bunch of old coats, shoes, and dinnerware that have masking tape prices stuck to them?
  2. Will I leave behind a rich legacy of family stories, shared experiences, and lessons passed down to future generations?
  3. Am I even concerned about what my legacy is? Does it even matter?

I’m not suggesting your answer has to be any one of these things. In some ways, it could be all of them. I do think an estate sale is a great opportunity for perspective and an aid for decision-making. If this is how it ends, how do I want to behave now? How might I live my life if stuff falling off tables onto the floor and into the hands of strangers is the inevitable result of my purchases and time-consuming choices?

All I can say for sure is that a Perrysburg woman’s sense of style will live on through my wife as she moves about the town in that stunning white coat that just begs to be talked about. Yeah, I think that lady would have been proud to know that someone else appreciates her choices. And while I’m certain her life’s story is much bigger than a coat, it’s nice to know that she’ll have a friend in fashion for winters to come. And I think that’s kind of cool. So does my wife.

All the best,

Adam Cufr, RICP®


Adam Cufr, RICP® (Retirement Income Certified Professional®) is a financial advisor and founding principal of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC providing personal finance and retirement planning services. Adam is a Columnist for Retirement Advisor Magazine. He is also a sought-after media commentator and thought leader. Adam was named one of The 20 Most Creative People In Insurance in 2015 and is a columnist for Retirement Advisor Magazine and the author of Off the Record – Secrets to Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy.

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