A Homeowner’s Nightmare

Benjamin Haas |

I saw a video on social media a couple of months ago that jokingly illustrates that “one of a homeowner’s worst nightmares is hearing the sound of running water when you shouldn’t. All you hear in addition to the rushing water is the sound of a cash register as money drains from your bank account,” and wow, did I feel that one deep in my soul recently. Either my social media algorithm is clairvoyant, or it was merely an unfortunate coincidence. 

It happened sometime between 2:30 am and 3:30 am on Friday, February 2nd, and we were only alerted to it “quickly” because one of us got up to use the bathroom, and we had ZERO running water on the second floor. I got out of bed to check things out just in case, and as soon as I opened the hallway door 2 floors above our basement, I could hear water running faintly. My first thought was, maybe a toilet tank flapper got stuck, and it just keeps filling – ha, wishful thinking in the moment, I know! As I got closer to the basement, the sound of water running quickly turned to water spraying and splashing. It was at that point my panic and adrenaline kicked in. Turns out the water filter housing had cracked, and every ounce of water coming into the house was simply spraying out and spreading throughout the finished side of our basement. 

A couple of hours of work using a shop vac to get the standing water removed and moving/protecting as much of our things as we could, I finally called Berks*Fire*Water at 5:30 am to get the professionals in to survey the damage and get things cleaned up. Within an hour, we had a project manager there, and within another 2 hours, the first members of the crew had arrived to tear out the carpet, remove baseboards, and start the “flood cuts” to get access to walls to be able to start the drying process later that day. 

Ben Franklin has been credited with the saying “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” and while I do often live by that mantra, unfortunately, in this instance, I didn’t. The reality of having a family of 5 with 3 daughters means we accumulate STUFF. The thought of sifting through our things, mostly stuff that we don’t actively use, just seemed like a big project and felt akin to climbing a mountain. Trying to figure out what to keep, what to donate, and what can just be thrown away. Years of accumulation of kids' toys, clothing, furniture, etc. Part of the problem was that it was “out of sight, out of mind,” which makes it easier to ignore until an emergency happens and now, you’re forced to deal with it on a timeline that’s not entirely within your control. 

That got me thinking about the parallel to financial planning in general, and particularly estate planning. It’s not fun to think about; it’s not fun to carve out time from our busy lives to get it done, but by consciously taking the time and tackling things now, you could avoid some possible future unintended consequences. Do your “future” self a favor. It sucks for “current” you to do work that can easily be put on the back burner, but your future self would be very appreciative of you handling things before it potentially turns into a much bigger issue or worse yet, something you can’t fix at all. In the face of unexpected challenges, it’s often the proactive steps taken today that shape our tomorrow.  


Investment advice offered through Great Valley Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor. Great Valley Advisor Group and Haas Financial Group are separate entities. This is not intended to be used as tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax or legal professional for specific information and advice. 

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