Would Overpaying by $800 Bother You?

batch of dollars

In 2015, I have saved our household $800. Better stated, I avoided overpaying for things we already owned. The first was a replacement mobile phone.While my husband was out of town, I was able to log in to his AT&T account and get a cheaper option than if I went to the AT&T store. The second item was for a dishwasher repair. When presented with the bill at the end of the service call, my husband knew it was covered by a warranty.

I think $800 is no insignificant amount of money for most households. However, it takes time and organization to avoid being overcharged for things to which you are entitled. On average, most individuals can put this together in less than 4 hours. Would you mind paying yourself $200/hour?

Every one can benefit. Today, disorganization is the most dangerous for modern couples that divide and conquer. Consumer Reports shared that only 3 out of 10 couples could cite and knew how to access the three largest financial accounts of their household—that means 7 out of 10 don’t! Consumer Reports went on to share that only 28 percent of couples are completely confident that their partner is prepared to assume responsibility of their joint retirement finances.

Because most Americans don’t have their information organized, $58 billion is sitting with state and federal treasurers in unclaimed money. Bank and retirement accounts, insurance benefits, and even tax refunds are lost in the shuffle of a move, personal crisis, and even death and end up getting turned over to the governing treasurer.

For those of you that like order or crave to be more organized and avoid the issues plaguing many American households, I hope you will download a free guide on what to save and what to shred. Not only will it give you a list of the key items to organize, it also includes the list of information that you should keep. This download provides an overview of the information and worksheets provided in MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing Life.

If you are interested finding out how much money you can save your own household, use the links below that offer a discount on this best-selling workbook that will prompt you through the collection of your important documents, accounts, and details.

Barnes & Noble

If you are active on social media, do you know what happens when you die?

facebookThe owner(s) of the online site(s) you accepted the “terms and conditions” to before getting access dictate your digital rights on their service. Our world moved faster than the laws and after years of frustration, many of the online giants are starting to do more to address the issue of digital asset rights for their users. Google created an “Inactive Account Manager” but it is only a very broad safety net. The shortest term for inactivity is 3 months.

As a caregiver, we know how many issues surface for those who are unable to manage their own lives. Imagine if the person you were caring for was an active blogger or a great photographer and sold rights to their images online. Would you have what you need to access their accounts? For most of us, we might just need to get into email to be able to respond to friends of the person you are caring for. The power of attorney doesn’t cover this realm, yet.

Given that more people face a crisis or permanent disability before they die, the only way to ensure your loved ones have access to help you is to hand over a list of your usernames and passcodes. For a free tool to better understand and document you information, you can download a copy of “Taming the Internet: Keeping Track of Online Passcodes.” 

According to Slate, Facebook is rolling out an option that lets users choose to have their account wiped out upon death. The other option is to designate a hand-selected “legacy contact.”

I’m glad Facebook has done something, however, since 7 out of 10 Americans that turn 65 will need 3 years of care before they die, we must recognize that someone needs to be able to assist us long before we leave this planet and this isn’t just an issue for older americans. At the age of 40 nearly half of Americans will face a disability lasting 90-days; are you prepared to let a loved one step in and help you when you need it?

I encourage you to set up a system to be able to share the digital keys to your estate, should someone need to act on your behalf, if even only temporarily. As a reader, you know there are so many things you don’t have access or information about, even for those of us with durable powers of attorney. I hope you will take me up on the offer to download a free copy to at least get your digital house in order. Offered.


Life Preparedness 101

mbicons1.jpgWe all know that we should plan for future life-changing events, but it’s one of the first things we put on the back burner. We have a million excuses, and have learned that procrastination does not work, but there are some things we just never make time to complete.

When it comes to organizing your personal information, doing it later is often too late. The statistics are alarming—some 43 percent of all people age 40 now will have a long-term disability event prior to reaching age 65. And seven out of ten people who turn 65 today will need some type of long-term care services and support lasting three or more years. Could a loved one act as your medical advocate and provide your medical history or list of medications if you were unable to? Could someone else access your bill-paying account to cover basic expenses while you recovered?

Having a system that documents your passcodes, inventories your assets and provides a health biography will not only provide you with quick access to information when you need it, but also can provide a roadmap to the individual that would step in and help you—even if only temporarily—should you need it.

In 70 percent of all households, Consumer Reports found that both spouses were unaware of the major details about family finances and where to find account information. If your partner was suddenly incapacitated, would you be able to step in and manage what your partner was doing? And if you live on your own, it’s doubtful that friends or family would know the details of your life and your wishes if they wanted to help you.

For all these reasons, documenting your life details and putting them in a format that makes it easier for you to retrieve and that someone else can access is important. It matters the most to those people around you whom you love and would be negatively impacted by your failure to simply document basic details.

Click here for a checklist of all of the important documents and details you should have organized.