In our always-on world, with all of the in-the-moment distraction it brings, it’s not easy to look ahead and plan for what’s truly important. How many times have you started your day with goals in mind—getting on the phone with a friend you’ve been wanting to catch up with, for instance, or some practical personal matter you know you need to take care of—only to find that, in the course of the day, those plans get pushed to the back burner? It’s just a fact of life: in the daily rush, the long view almost always loses out to the demands of the present.
But in order to truly thrive, sometimes we need to plan ahead, to step outside our immediate demands and stresses and keep an eye on what really matters. And technology, which so often distracts us from long-term thinking, can also be one of our most powerful tools. Used wisely, it can help us schedule time for what’s important and align our habits with our values.
This is especially important when it comes to our loved ones. We all want to take care of those who are important to us—their well-being, their happiness, and their financial futures. Deep down, we know that the choices we make today will have an impact on their lives tomorrow. But it’s hard to go from knowing what to do to actually doing it—and when we have so many digital distractions, mixed in (perhaps) with procrastinating tendencies—it’s just easier to put this kind of planning off altogether.
Most of us would agree that it’s important to make some kind of arrangements to provide for our families once we’re gone. But how many of us are intimidated by this issue, to the point of avoiding it entirely? If you’ve banished the thought from your mind, or don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. Only 42 percent of American adults have estate planning documents like a will or trust, according to a 2017 survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates International—with 47 percent of respondents saying they just hadn’t gotten around to it.
And when you look at Americans’ spending habits, you see that life insurance isn’t exactly a priority. “Americans pay $120 annually on cell phone insurance to protect an item that costs around $570 dollars at retail value,” according to a report by Life Happens, a nonprofit focused on insurance and financial responsibility. “Yet, 64% of Americans are unwilling to spend just a bit more—$156 annually—on … life insurance … to protect something priceless: loved ones.”
For Dave Hanley, all this came into focus with the loss of his parents. The difficulty was compounded by mountains of paperwork. There were questions to be answered and decisions to be made about finances, assets, estates and insurance policies. Hanley began to ask around and learned that he was far from alone in being overwhelmed by it all. “Why are these smart, capable people not doing this,” he wondered, “and it all came down to it was expensive, overwhelming, that it took too long, that they didn’t want to think through all this.”
So Dave co-founded Tomorrow.me, an app that helps you make important decisions and take action before you find yourself facing complicated questions after a personal loss. The app allows you to purchase life insurance, create trusts and wills, designate guardians, and generally helps you to proactively prepare for the future—and thus reduce stress and gain peace of mind. (Bonus: no lawyers necessary.)
With Tomorrow, actions that would otherwise take lots of time and resources become simple and quick. “Ultimately, Tomorrow combines many of the tools used by the wealthy (like Trusts, Wills and insurance), and makes them accessible and affordable for everyday Americans,” Dave told Geekwire. You can do it all on your phone, on your own time—on the bus, waiting in line, anywhere. Think about it: Taking a small step as simple as downloading an app could directly impact your family’s future. At Thrive Global, we call these microsteps—small steps that lead to big change in your life.
Our aversion to thinking about death and loss isn’t a personal failing, or solely attributable to our tech-driven, hyper-connected lifestyles. It’s embedded deep in our culture. As Arianna Huffington writes in Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, death is “the ultimate equalizer. And yet we talk so little about it. At a soulless airport waiting area, we can bond with someone we’ve never met before over the meager shared experience of a ten-minute flight delay, and we can develop an entire relationship based on our common devotion to Mad Men, yet it seldom occurs to us to bond over the massive dying elephant in the room: our shared mortality.”
Considering this, Tomorrow isn’t just a tool that helps us take practical steps and prepare for the future. It’s also helping to change the culture by opening up the conversation around death, setting our priorities, and acting in accordance with our values.
We’re all aware of the importance of planning ahead and caring for our families’ future. Tomorrow can help you take that awareness and turn it into action, today.
Download Tomorrow here.
This article was produced by Thrive Global and sponsored by Tomorrow.