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Writing My Obituary Brought Financial Perspective.

This isn’t a heavy or depressing post. Honestly I never thought I’d write my own obituary wasn’t something I’d planned on doing but a few weeks ago I walked into work and got some sobering news that a co-worker had unexpectedly passed away over the weekend.  She was young (early 30’s) and seemingly healthy.  Her passing was a total shock to everyone, and it has scared the hell out of me. Inevitably I thought about my own mortality.

I thought about how my obituary would read if I was the one that had unexpectedly died. Wrapping up someone’s life into a few lines of text always saddens me, but this time it got me thinking about how I’d like mine to read. So I decided to write my own obituary and figured it would be an interesting experience, and possibly fun as well.

I hope* mine reads something like this …
Write my own obituary

In loving memory …

Write my own obituary
Note: don’t use this photo

Ty Roberts, our husband, Dad, son, brother, friend, blogger extraordinaire and lover of Qdoba finally kicked the bucket this past weekend at the ripe old age of 124. Ty passed away peacefully in his sleep after an evening of frivolity, surrounded by his closest family and friends.  He was 124 years old (making this the year 2100).

Ty was very old, tired, happy, content, and at peace in his final years.  He died with a smile on his face. Being exceedingly wise perhaps Ty knew that his time on this earth was coming to a close and he was smiling from looking back at a life well lived…

Or he was laughing at one of his own jokes, as he was known to do. The latter is more likely.

Ty is survived by his wife of 104 years, his four children, eight grand children, sixteen grandchildren, thirty two great grandchildren, and his admirers worldwide as well as on Mars.

Life Sketch

Ty was born at a very young age in the year 1976 and was the fifth of six children.  He was born into a home where money was sometimes tight but love never was. He grew up totally unaware than some might have considered him to be poor, but would never doubt that he was loved unconditionally.

Growing up the son of a steel mill worker/ drywaller meant Ty wasn’t afraid of  hard work.  When times where tough and options were limited, Ty always turned to hard work to get him through and that served him well throughout his life.

In 1998 Ty married his high school sweetheart, Mandy; it was the best decision Mandy ever made. They married after dating for several years throughout high school and college. Ty liked to tell people that he didn’t kiss his wife until the day they were married (#fact). He also like to tell everyone that Mandy totally married up (#lie).

Write my own obituary

Ty was masterful with corny Dad jokes till the very end. Nobody, especially Mandy and the kids, will miss the jokes.

Speaking of the kids. Even with his rugged good looks, charming personality, quick wit, wild success in business and life, Ty always considered each of his children to be his greatest accomplishment.

His children are quite literally pieces of him and as such, Ty lives on through them.

More Stuff About Ty

Ty passed away with few material possessions (because he understood that material possessions are just future garbage anyway) but an embarrassing abundance of amazing experiences and memories.

Ty discovered and wholeheartedly embraced the FIRE movement in his late-30’s and as a result he retired from full time work in his late 40’s.  Because of FIRE, Ty was able to enjoy a 75 year retirement in which he did whatever the hell he wanted to, whenever the hell he wanted to do it, which is all he ever wanted to do.

That consisted mostly of spending time with loved ones, slow traveling the world, helping those in need, staying connected to lifelong friends, and constantly seeking out new ones.

Services for Ty

Ty will be laid to rest in the cemetery of his childhood hometown, which happens to be the dead center of town.  The place is so great that people are dying to get in there.

Instead of a traditional funeral Ty wanted a celebration of his life.  And you’re all invited. Any attendee caught with tears of sadness will be promptly booted from the party.  Anyone caught crying with laughter will be given an extra drink ticket.

~

Okay. Back to reality.  While kinda fun to write, even now I still don’t know how I want my obituary to read.  I don’t have a bucket list with epic adventures and desires listed out.  Maybe that’s a good thing because I’m not really much of a planner.

Ready. Aim. FIRE! is kinda my M.O., but still, thinking about this has made me realize that I need to do a much better job of milking the most of of my life.

What I do know for sure is that I don’t want to spend life collecting paycheck so that I can have newer, nicer things. I don’t want to work till my mid-60’s (or later) only to pass away a few years later.

I’m not sure what happens when we pass away, but if this is all there is, I want to make the most of it.  And punching the clock isn’t going to get it done.

How to Write My Own Obituary

Hopefully you’ll live a long and fulfilling life. Before it comes to an end you should make sure you are ready to die and be sure that your loved ones have a plan should you pass on.

You might also want to take a few minutes to write out your own obituary. Doing so might actually help you see things a bit differently and maybe even help you get out of a rut if you’re in one.  If you decide to write and publish your own obituary be sure to let me know and I’ll link to it from this post.

If you want to give this a go, here’s a high-level template you can use to write your own obituary.

Five Sections of an Obituary:

  1. Announcement of death.  Obviously you’re not dead, but announcing your own death gives you a launching off point. In this first section you might call out a date, place, and maybe even the cause of your death.  I chose the year 2100 for my own death date because living to the year 2100 would be cool.
  2. Life Sketch.  This is where you’ll typically see a brief rundown about your life; usually this is chronological, but it’s your obituary so you can do whatever you want.  When writing your own obituary you’ll probably call out things that you’re glad you did (even if you haven’t done all of these things yet – especially if you haven’t don’t these things yet because visualizing things you’ve not yet done is part of the exercise.)
  3. Family.  This section usually calls out those who have passed on before you, and those who you are survived by.  If you’re young this is where you’ll paint the picture of what you’d like your family to look like. Want a big family with lots of kids?  Put that here.  If you immediate family is already set, you might project some of your wishes and desires for them in here (e.g.”Ty was proud that his daughter became the first person to build a house on Mars”).
  4. Legacy.  This is your parting shot.  How do you want to be remembered?  Advice you’d give to others (and yourself).  Things you’re especially proud of.
  5. Other. Other things to consider putting in your obituary might be:
    • A list of loved ones
    • Professional accomplishments
    • Charity work
    • Hobbies
    • Notable accomplishments

Take Action

At the beginning of this post I said *I hoped* this is how my obituary would read.  I’ve changed my mind.

There is no need for me to “hope” for anything since I’m still alive and kickin’. I’m in full control of how I live my life from this day forward. As much as I love FIRE and the thought of retiring early, I also think that I’ve been walking a line that looks like an unhealthy obsession with money.

Money is awesome and useful and all that, but at the end of the day money is just stuff, and stuff doesn’t matter.

Writing my own obituary isn't something I planned on doing, but the unexpected #passing of a young and healthy co-worker got me thinking about #death, so I decided to #writemyownobituary. #HowToWriteYourOwnObituary

Chime in!

If you passed away tomorrow, would you be happy with how your obituary read or are there things you’d like to change moving forward?  Places left to see?  Amends to be made?  Let me know if you decide to write an obituary (or if you already have) so that I can link back to it.

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

8 replies on “Writing My Obituary Brought Financial Perspective.”

Very clever post, I might steal that line about marrying me is the best decision my wife ever made.

Given my father died young, I’ve thought about my own death quite a lot. It has caused me to be very selective in how I live my life. Constantly refining my values and ensuring I’m living out those values to the best of my ability.

Great post! “He was born at a very young age” cracked me up. 🙂 That’s a nice thought exercise and I may have to work up my own obituary. It seems like a good perspective reset.

I’m really sorry to hear about your co-worker. When stuff like that happens it can serve as a great reminder that none of us are promised tomorrow. Loved your obituary and hope I don’t have to read it again until at least 2100. 😉

“As much as I love FIRE and the thought of retiring early, I also think that I’ve been walking a line that looks like an unhealthy obsession with money.” I’ve been feeling this way a bit lately as well and as a result have branched out in my reading and podcasts to non-money stuff, concentrating mainly on health and nutrition. I’m looking forward to your post on the subject.

Great fun yet quite sobering.

So how did you learn of those admirers on Mars? Or they of you? Perhaps you started the first interplanetary blog for kicks when you turned 100?

Sorry to hear about your co-worker.

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