Predictable Surprises

By: Melissa Barnickle of Baygroup Insurance

Benjamin Franklin famously penned, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. That was back in 1789. Relative to the topic of inevitability, I’d like to add one more item to death and taxes: change.

Plans change. Our interests and preferences change. Situations change, too. Where children live can change. Even the terms of the taxes change regularly, too!

Human beings are pretty much hard-wired to resist change. We become comfortable with what we know. From the infant who responds well to a schedule, to the adult who exercises daily at the same time of day, we tend to like routine.

Another way of saying it is we have a distaste for change.  

When we do seek change— we’re pretty selective in the pursuit. A vacation is a temporary change of scenery. We move to a new home or look for a new job, motivated by the pursuit of happiness or another goal.

We can more easily embrace happy changes such as new homes and jobs. But unhappy changes are unsettling— and we often avoid even the thought of such a thing. For example, considering the idea that a recession could drop the value of the new home, or, that a takeover could cause the new job to disappear, makes most people very uncomfortable.  

However, when unfortunate events like this happen they can barely be described as surprises. They have happened to other people. We’re read about them. We’ve even met people who have lived through the experiences. No matter how much we prefer to avoid the fact that they could happen to us, they are not out of the realm of possibility. More accurately, they could be called predictable surprises.

There are other predictable surprises too. Ever talk to a parent who has dropped off their youngest or only child at college, and is pretty despondent about having to say goodbye? The months before they were happily barreling through the college selection process and high school graduation planning. Then, the big change happened. And somehow, the event itself, and the logical aftermath of the change, for this parent can still come as a surprise.

How about a newly widowed person? A profound change. Yet if death and taxes are certain, this is another example of something you know has the possibility of happening one day.

To this end, bodies also change. As does health. So, knowing that we might need long term care one day should not be totally unexpected, it is a predictable surprise after all, and yet many people are not adequately prepared when the moment arises in our own lives or for those that we love.

If change is indeed something else that cannot be avoided, isn’t it time to now plan for these events, both good and bad? Perhaps now is the time to start thinking about how to pay for the unhappy, but predictable, change that is needing long term care.

If you need help planning, feel free to contact Baygroup Insurance at or call us at 410-557-7907 for more information.