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Bench Clear University | #1 How To Protect Your Sports Card Collection — What Happens When?

Today I am going to cover a topic that most people hate talking about.  Death.  I know it might seem morbid, and I know most of us don’t like to think about it, much less talk about it, but it is going to happen to all of us.  What we do beforehand can make a huge difference for our families.  We can either have our collections be a blessing for them or a curse.  

If you don’t want to read, here is the video:

So let me play out a nightmare scenario for you to understand what I am talking about.  You have spent decades collecting…accumulating…maybe even hoarding sports cards of your favorite players and teams.  In fact, you have done such a great job that your collection is now worth $50,000.  Bam!!  You get hit by the proverbial turnip truck and die.  After a while, your wife finally decides to tackle the collection in the spare room that she does not think is any big deal.  I mean it is something you would do as a hobby.  To her it is a bunch of worthless cardboard.  You guys never talked about value because you never really wanted her to know how much you were spending.  Or you were afraid that if she knew how much everything was worth, that she would make you sell it and take her on that dream vacation to Hawaii she is always talking about.

She decides to take out an ad on Craigs List or Facebook to simply get rid of everything.  To her, if someone would even offer $1,000 she would be thrilled and would get that spare bedroom back.  So Johnny Scheister comes along and says that he would be happy to help her out by taking all of those cards off her hands, but, “They are not really worth that much.” He tells your wife and convinces her to take $500.

How do we keep this scenario from playing out?  Well, the answer is simple in concept, but more complicated in execution.  

Have a plan.

As a Certified Financial Planner, I have spent my entire career helping people simultaneously plan for multiple scenarios.  Saving for retirement, saving for their kid’s education, a second home and even planning for death.

Now for each one of us this plan will look a little different, but overall, a solid plan will contain several critical components.

1 – Keep an inventory.  This can be executed effectively in any number of ways.  You can have an Excel spreadsheet or a Google Doc.  You can use Trading Card Database.  Or if you have a lot of graded cards then you can use the PSA Inventory tool.  PSA will even let you input non-PSA cards into your inventory.  The key here is having a list of what you have that is readily accessible, so someone does not have to figure out what you have.  This inventory should also have current values if possible.

2 – Have a trusted hobby friend.  What I mean is that we all need someone with hobby knowledge to help walk your family through the process in case of tragedy.  They should also be familiar with your collection.  Your spouse/loved ones need to know who that is and how to get a hold of them.

3 – Have specific instructions ready.  If you want certain people to get certain things, then you need to spell that out.  If you want to use a certain auction house to sell your stuff, then you need to provide the name and contact information.  Make a checklist that is easy to follow and easy to find.

4 – Put your collection in your will.  This will avoid family members fighting over who is supposed to get what.  It will specifically lay out any special instructions as to your wishes.  It is also the legal method of passing on a collection.  Always have your will drawn up by an Estate Planning Attorney.  It might cost a little more, but you know it will be done right.

5 – Talk to your spouse!!  This might be the hardest one, but it might be the most important.  You must have an open and honest dialogue with your spouse.  They need to know what you want done, what everything is worth, and what you have done to help them if you were to pass away.  

You can see that there is definitely some work on your end to make this happen, but let me assure you that your effort will be greatly appreciated by your family if something were to happen to you.  Don’t leave them hanging out to dry when Johnny Scheister comes knocking on the door.

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