Over the years, my friends have dubbed me “Julie McCoy Cruise Director.” For those of you who did not watch The Love Boat, she was the one in charge of planning events on board the ship. I have always enjoyed having things to look forward to, so it is my way of creating an incentive for getting through a rough week or whatever period of time is involved. Also by planning ahead, I can work backwards to figure out the steps necessary to get to my desired outcome.

I do not expect everyone to be as much of a planner as me, and quite honestly I love those that are more spontaneous and easy going. However, in my professional life, it is my job to plan out someone’s divorce– preferably in less than 12 months the case should be over, and my clients can then move on to a new life.

I am often amazed at how little planning people have put into their own retirements or their children’s college education. Doctors, lawyers, CPAs, you name it are all over-extending themselves paying for fancy cars, huge mortgages, nice vacations, and meanwhile they are putting next to nothing aside for a rainy day.

Working with financial planners all these years has taught me the value of their services. They are able to generate calculations that predict what college will cost in ten years, or how much you need to have in retirement to continue to live a reasonable lifestyle. It may not be numbers we want to hear, but I think it is better to have the information and try to figure out remedies now versus waiting until it is too late.

In cases involving nasty custody disputes, I always encourage people to look into the future– to try and picture a child’s college graduation or wedding, and to try and set as a goal the possibility of being able to attend such events with their former spouse, without causing any drama for the child on these special days. Of course everyone always wants that, but then the point I need to stress is that you need to lay the ground work ahead of time so that when the day actually comes, that hope can become a reality.

Some people find the future so scary and unpredictable, that they just want to focus on the day to day tasks at hand. I see points in the future as goal posts, and the sooner we can visualize them, the sooner we can plan a way to achieve our goals.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.