Image courtesy of U.S. News & World Report

Why You Need a Succession Plan


Barry Armstrong

Founder and President, Armstrong Advisory Group


Death is not a fun topic to think about or discuss.  However, it is a basic reality of life: everyone lives and everyone dies.  While the loss of a loved one is difficult enough, many people must also shoulder the burdens of funeral expenses and complex financial decisions.  As one would expect, most folks find it extremely challenging to deal with all of these complicated decisions while attempting to grieve.  However, there are steps you can take while you are still alive that may make an unfortunate situation for your family slightly less difficult.


The Immediate Financial Considerations


Immediately following the death of a loved one, survivors face consequential financial decisions.  According to the most recent statistics, the average cost of a funeral in the United States is somewhere in between $8,000 and $10,000.  Some of the expenses may include a casket, funeral director’s fees, viewing ceremonies, grave spaces, and headstones.  Thankfully, some individuals benefit from life insurance policies that help with some of these costs.  Others make the decision to prepay for all of their funeral arrangements.  By ensuring that you have taken all of the appropriate planning steps for your situation, you have the opportunity to ensure that the immediate financial stressors your family may face will be as minimal as possible.


A Note to the “Do-it-Yourselfer”


Today, there are many men and women who choose to manage most components of their family’s finances, including investment portfolios.  While some of these people like the idea of managing their own money and making their own investment allocation decisions, their spouses may not share their advanced level of financial knowledge.  Consequently, if a husband or wife who manages the finances passes away, the surviving spouse may not know where to turn to for financial help.  This is why it may be a good idea to meet with a financial advisor as you attempt to formulate a succession plan, especially if you are a “do-it-yourselfer.”  By having a succession plan in place and establishing trust with an advisor while you are still alive, your surviving spouse will know exactly where to go when they need guidance the most.




Life gets complicated, which is why it is always a good idea to have a plan.  It is impossible to know precisely what the future holds, but by making basic arrangements, you may save your loved ones a great deal of trouble and stress in the long run.  This is especially true when the conversation turns to finances.  If you have questions about your succession plan or need help devising one, it may be smart to consult with a financial advisor who is able to answer those questions and point you in the right direction.


Barry Armstrong has over 30 years of experience in the financial industry.  He founded the Armstrong Advisory Group in 2004 and has been sharing his financial knowledge with New Englanders on a daily basis during his Boston-based radio broadcast for nearly 20 years.  Learn more about Barry and the Armstrong Advisory Group at  Securities offered through Securities America, Inc.  Member FINRA/SIPC and Advisory Services offered through Securities America Advisors.  Barry Armstrong, Representative.  Representatives of Securities America do not offer tax advice.  Always seek the assistance of a tax professional familiar with the laws in your state.  Armstrong Advisory Group and Securities America are unaffiliated.  July 2017