Long-term Planning. Short-term Preparing.


I feel it’s possible to plan for a long life, but also be prepared for a shorter life than expected. That’s the responsible and courteous thing to do. It’s a way we can acknowledge how fleeting life can be.

In this document, I share some thoughts on long-term plans, and short-term preparations. I hope to revise this writing over time, but for now it’s a starting point and conveys the general message I want to share on this subject.

Long-Term planning

My current plan and expectation is to live to see the year 2060, and perhaps beyond.

Given the challenges humanity is currently facing, it may not be my own health that gives out first. Yet, I remain hopeful that the earth can still support life and civilization will somehow evolve and survive that long.

In this long-term planning scenario, I’ll likely cut back on my income producing work over time, easing into retirement. Until then, I’ll want to continue saving up for my senior years and become skilled now at living frugally. That’s my long-term plan.

Short-Term Preparing

I’ve known of many people who planned on a long-life and many years of enjoying retirement, but they died much earlier than expected.

Many years ago, I received a phone call from a woman who was dealing with the work of figuring out what do do after her husband passed away unexpectedly. She explained that her husband was an independent tech consultant, and in their basement were dozens of computers — most of them hosting websites, providing services, and running off-site backups for businesses.

She explained that nothing was documented. I provided some advice over the phone, but was hesitant to get involved further without knowing the impact of shutting down those computers. It was a bigger project than I was able to take on. Given the size of their home-based operation, I suggested she contact a larger consulting agency with multiple employees.

I felt very sorry for that woman. Her predicament really got me thinking about my own tech consulting business. I examined how I might do an even better job at documenting my work to ensure continuity and minimal disruption if something happened to me.

I’ve always been good about documenting my work, and sending the details to my customers so they have everything they need to continue operating if something happened to me. Their next tech support person or web consultant could easily continue in my absence.

Given my vocation of tech support, I feel I have an obligation to be more mindful about this kind of planning. I’m usually teaching people how to be independent, and providing them with documentation they can refer to that will make them less reliant on me.

In recent years, I started labeling all equipment that people give me to work on. I rarely have more than one or two computers in for service, so it’s not a matter of avoiding confusion between them. My main concern is to ensure a person would get their property back if something happened to me. So, on each device, power cord, bag, and other items, I’ll put a label with the person’s name, phone number, and the date. This would make returning the items easier.

Vacation Planning

Besides the weighty matter of what to do if a support person dies, there’s the practical planning of what someone should do if their support person is on vacation. There needs to be a way to get some support in their absence.

Big box consumer electronics stores like Best Buy offer in-home and over the phone service. The tech people may not be as experienced or skilled as you would like, and there’s no long-term relationship with the person, but at least it’s something in a pinch. [Learn More]

“Settle Your Affairs”

If a doctor said to me, “Settle your affairs,” I would reply, “Okay, I’ll need about 20 to 30 years.”

I don’t have a bucket list. I’ve had more experiences in life than I could ever have imagined. The life I’ve unexpectedly lived is better than any bucket list I could have created or planned. Perhaps I’m easily satisfied.

However, even mid-way through life, looking at the years ahead and the years behind, I find myself with much cleanup work to do. I have a lot of “stuff” in boxes, mostly related to my tech work, that needs to be donated, sold, thrown away, recycled, or possibly digitized.

I really don’t want to leave a huge pile of things behind when my life is done. So, the only item on my bucket list now is to get rid of as much stuff as I possibly can, and do as much as I can to alleviate the work and weight of my departure whenever that happens.

Life Can Be Short

In the past two years, since 2020, the global pandemic has taken the lives of more than six million people who had their lives shortened unexpectedly and without much notice. Climate change, wars, and other global events are also taking people sooner than planned.

I don’t live in a war-torn area of the world. The threat of oceanic volcanos exploding and causing tsunamis isn’t something I need to be concerned about. I’m not in a village that might be wiped out overnight by a mudslide or flood. I don’t live in a low-lying costal area being eroded by rising oceans. So, I don’t face the risks that millions of others do around the world.

Taking a moment to acknowledge the possible shortness of life, and prepare for it, is a way of meditating on what others have suddenly lost — those who have left, and those who are left behind.

In what are hopefully many years ahead of me, I plan to become as minimalist as possible, and equip people to be less reliant on me.

thinking of others

I’ve not given much thought to the specific details of what kind of formal service I’d want, but I feel like that’s a good idea to have something planned and probably will spend some time on that subject with an update to this page in the future. Certainly something eco friendly would be desirable. [Learn More]

Whatever thought, cost, planning, and effort I can take on myself, and avoid passing on to others, I would want to do.


This is an evolving document I plan to develop over time and reflect on. I’ll expand on what’s written here, based on further research and feedback from others.

Document History

  • 1 May 2022 — Document created. Future revisions will be listed above by date with the most recent at the top.