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Four Questions to Help You Figure Out If You’re Making the Right Decision

Everyone faces many tough decisions in daily life, from changing jobs to breaking up with someone you care about, and not being sure if you’re making the right decision can be paralyzing. Next time you face a tough call, ask yourself these four questions.

Marie Forleo suggests you ask these questions help you feel confident in your choice so you can move forward:

Image result for Four Questions to Help You Figure Out If You're Making the Right Decision
  • How do you feel when you think about going forward? When you imagine going forward with the decision, what’s your instinctual reaction? Nervousness, dread or hesitation, and joy are all common reactions which can give you a sense of what side of the fence you fall on.
  • What’s the worst case scenario? Think through how your decision might backfire or negatively affect your life. If that happens, are you prepared to deal with it?
  • What’s the best case scenario? Figure out the best possible outcome of your decision. Is the payoff worth the possible worst case scenario?
  • Can you give it a try on a small scale? Find a way to try your decision without fully committing. For example, if you want to change industries, volunteer for a few months in the industry you’re considering or reach out to trusted contacts who already work in it and pick their brains. If you’re considering moving to a new city, take a short trip there and explore it as if you lived there already.

You know your situation best, so use these four questions as a guide and take your personal circumstances into account, too. Check out the video above for examples for each question.

You Must Get Started on Your Swedish Death Cleaning

Photo: Brad.K

Exciting news: There’s a new organizational how-to in town. Look out, Marie Kondo, and make way for The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter. The author, Margareta Magnusson, who is “somewhere between 80 and 100,” started the process of cleaning out her home and organizing her affairs for her heirs, and found it so rewarding that she wrote a book about it.

Questions: 1) What is death cleaning 2) What makes it different from Marie Kondo 3) Why is it not called just “cleaning out your home and organizing your affairs for your heirs”?

Answers: 1) According to Whimn, it’s a process (that ideally starts in your 50s) of slowly giving away extraneous possessions; 2) it is decluttering, but with an additional advice about how to deal with the practical matters surrounding death; and 3) that doesn’t make a very good book title.

This has sparked an interesting discussion on Metafilter, because anyone who is aging or has aging parents has a dog in this fight. There are stories of on-the-ball grandparents who left organized financial records and minimal stuff, and stories of despair at cleaning out hoarders’ houses full of junk. Some people think, as Alan Alda reportedly joked, that it’s okay to leave a household of un-edited stuff (What do we care? We’re dead) and others think it is both a responsibility and a kindness to streamline the process as much as you can for your loved ones after you go.

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I’m with the streamliners, with caveats. For one, none of us knows when we’re going to go, and if I corked off tomorrow I would definitely be leaving behind a closet full of unworn clothes, a lot of CDs I still haven’t put on my computer, and a lot of random hand-written notes that say things like “buy TP, maybe write story about french parents? password to bank account is BANKTIME.” My will is…somewhere. (Probably filed under D for “dead.”) Dying is not like leaving for a trip, in which you clean yourself out the door—all of us will leave behind some unfinished business and a half-eaten carton of yogurt in the fridge. And two, we all have attachments to stuff that is meaningless to other people, so it’s hard to encourage someone else to declutter when you don’t fully comprehend how safe and cozy their shelf of Hummel figurines makes them feel. So we all have to tread carefully with helping loved ones clean out.

The nice thing about Magnusson’s instructions is that her book is also about taking charge of your life for yourself, while you’re living: “It is about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly.” She also offers help on how to open this conversation with aging parents who might be reluctant to talk about what they’re going to leave behind. Is it morbid? It doesn’t seem like it. It seems more like a peaceful, organized way to settle your affairs, so that you haven’t left a big Swedish death mess for other people to clean up.

You Need to Deal With Your Digital Legacy Right Now

You Need to Deal With Your Digital Legacy Right Now

Leigh Anderson11/15/17 9:30amFiled to: Estate planning112.6K11113

It used to be that when someone died, their executor would follow a standard roadmap to settle their estate: clean out the house, go through the file cabinets, and file a tax return at the end of the year. Now this wasn’t exactly easy—handling the administration after a loved one’s death can be emotionally and logistically brutal—but at least everything you were dealing with was tangible. Nowadays we live our lives at least partly online, and that can mean a big headache for our families when we die: How do you sort through the deceased digital accounts and possessions when you don’t even know what they are?

“Twenty years ago, all an executor needed to do was collect the mail for three months and they’d have everything they need,” says Alison Besunder, a trusts and estates attorney in New York City. “As we move into a paperless, digital society everyone keeps their critical information in their heads.”

How to inventory your digital life—your online bank accounts, your social media, your email—has only recently become standard practice in estate planning. In the binder she gives to clients to help them get organized, Besunder has incorporated questions to get people started on simply identifying the components of their online lives. After all, it’s easy to note in your will that your niece gets the antique clock, but you might totally forget about your Flickr account or ancient LiveJournal.

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First Things First

If you haven’t already, you must make a will and designate a fiduciary. You should also consider what happens if you are incapacitated or temporarily disabled, and appoint someone as agent under a power of attorney. “The power of attorney should include digital-assets provisions designating someone to access your online accounts,” says Besunder. The appointed fiduciary (either the executor when you die or a power of attorney when you’re incapacitated) will handle your affairs; having a will and a power of attorney in place will save your family a huge headache after you’re gone.

How to Be Legally Buried at Sea

Photo: Pixabay

Funerals are old news, thanks to a recent thread in Reddit. If you’re on the lookout for a splashy burial, this is how to accomplish it.

Over the weekend, Redditor Mike6575 discovered a conspicuous page on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website: a page devoted to the legal right to be buried at sea.

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And it’s true. According to the website, you can easily be buried at sea, as long as you follow a few rules set by the EPA (In fact, it’s probably easier to be buried at sea than to renew your driver’s license).

If you’re interested in opting for a water burial, here are a few rules you’ll have to follow:

  • First, you’ll have to obtain an MPRSA (Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act) general permit. This allows for any human remains being transported from the U.S. into nearby ocean waters. However, you do not need to apply for a permit prior to burial, as long as you apply for one within 30 days of the burial. You can find and contact your local region’s EPA representative to apply.
  • You do not have to be cremated, but if you’re choosing to be buried in a casket, the casket must contain a minimum of 20 two-inch holes, must weigh at least 300 pounds, and can’t float (for obvious reasons).
  • If you’re forgoing a casket, the EPA recommends wrapping a natural fiber or cloth and adding additional weight, so that your body sinks. Materials that are not easily degraded, like plastic, are not allowed with your body.
  • Human remains must be released at least three miles away from any U.S. shore.
  • If you’re a military veteran, you may be able to make special arrangements through the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard.

“Interesting,” says Redditor CetteChanson. “It doesn’t actually say that the body has to be dead.”

TIL it is 100% legal be to buried at sea in the USA | AskReddit

Get Paid $10,000 to Move Your Family to Italy

Photo: Paolo Panero (Wikimedia Commons)

Why spend just three months in Italy when you can live there indefinitely (and get paid a few thousand dollars for it, too)?

A small town in northern Italy is offering the ultimate incentive and giving curious participants up to €9,000, or roughly $10,000 USD, over the course of three years in exchange for moving there. It’s an offer meant to stimulate the local economy and boost its tiny, aging population.

“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Turin’s big factories,” Giovanni Bruno Mattiet, the mayor of Locana, Italy, the city in question, told CNN Travel. “Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.”

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Originally, the offer was extended to foreigners living in Italy and Italians citizens themselves, but the town’s dwindling population (where there are 40 deaths and just 10 births annually) necessitated a bigger audience, and likely, a much younger one, too.

Locana has an estimated population of just over 2,000 inhabitants spread across some 50 square miles, so you won’t have to worry about traffic. According to CNN Travel, it’s a town known mostly for its mountain reserve and outdoor activities, like rock climbing and swimming