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

Worried about your Parent, their Forgetfulness, and Money?

Me with my Mom last Fall on our way out to shop at the grocery store.

If a parent or other loved one develops dementia, a risk that grows with age, finances can present a big problem. In fact, you may have to step in to make sure your mom or dad doesn’t  rack up credit card debt or even go broke.

That’s what happened to Kay Bransford, an author and entrepreneur in Virginia, after her mom and dad both developed dementia. When a home contractor tried to charge her parents more than $5,000 for needed repairs, more than five times the going rate, Bransford acted quickly to cancel the contract …

Read more: http://www.creditcardguide.com/creditcards/parents-and-finances/6-ways-to-deal-with-a-loved-ones-dementia-and-debt/#ixzz3pEA0WUAQ

Free Financial Protection Kit from USA.gov

Take a moment to download a few of the publications that will provide some guidance on protecting your finances at USA.gov.

Of particular interest are the publications for Planning for Your Future that include how to be money smart and avoid financial exploitation, a guide to managing someone else’s money (I included a copy with my estate planning docs and shared it with the individual that would act as my agent if my husband and I were incapacitated), and a guide to long-term care insurance.

Learning about your finances and how to protect them is worth your time. I hope you find these helpful.

Making Good Decisions When Managing Someone Else’s Money

Many of us who are caregivers, are also managing finances and bill payments. I was the child who lived the closest to Mommanagingsomeoneelsesmoney and Dad when their health started to fail, and although my siblings wanted to help, they were separated by too many miles to realistically play an active role in paying our parents’ bills, acting as their medical advocates or managing their household. Those responsibilities naturally fell to me, and the amount of information I needed to manage quickly became overwhelming when it was added to all that I was already doing for my family.

Desperation is the mother of invention, and I decided to create an organizational binder that would help me collect and catalog my parents’ information. I created a one-stop-shop reference resource that helped me save time finding information. Perhaps most important, it allowed me to easily hand over all of our parents’ information—in the form of one, easily transportable book—when a sibling came to town to provide some much-needed caregiving relief. The system launched MemoryBanc.

In addition to managing a lot of new information, I ran into several unexpected roadblocks along the way: During my parents estate planning process, I was given and held their Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). However,  despite the validity of the DPOA,  it took many phone calls and in some cases several months for the DPOA to be acknowledged and processed.  When some financial services firms refused to accept it, my father and I set up online access to the accounts so I could help them by directly acting on my parents behalf online.

In talking with friends about my experiences, I also realized that planning for future, life-changing events is something all of us seem to recognize as being important, but it’s one of the first things we put on the back burner. There are a million excuses, and I’ve lived many of them. But we need to change our attitude that doing it “later” is okay:  According to the 2011 Disability Insurance Statistics Bank: JHA Disability Fact Book, “43 percent of all people age 40 will have a long-term disability event prior to age 65.”

For these reasons, I strongly urge every adult to work with a lawyer to create a Durable Power of Attorney. It should only cost a few hundred dollars.

If you are named as the fiduciary in a DPOA, you should download the free publication called “Managing Someone Else’s Money“. It includes great recommendations as well as good information on steps to take if your run into a roadblock using a valid DPOA. Recommended.  


Finding $2,500 of my Dad’s in Kansas

treasurechestStepping in to assist a parent is an overwhelming task. Trying to organize my parents medical, financial, personal and household papers was a job requirement. I needed an easy way to collect and document the information so I could easily find it as well as hand it off to a sibling who came to town to give me a break from caregiving. The experience fueled me to launch MemoryBanc

Many people are unaware that $58 billion is sitting in state and federal treasuries — it’s money that got lost in the shuffle of a move, crisis and even death. As a caregiver, you should know about the MissingMoney.org website. You can do one search and see if any of your loved ones money ended up in a state treasury. Every year, I do a quick search to see if anything slipped through the cracks. Last year, we found several accounts – one was in the name of my Grandfather, and the second was in the name of my Dad.

My sister started digging and learned that we could just go right to the state where the money was lost to claim our money. If you use the service on MissingMoney, they will take a cut or “finder’s fee” of your money. See additional information on this topic below. 

We find that my Granddad’s money is less than $100 and requesting the forms we’d need to claim would cost more than we would recoup, so we leave that money alone. However, when we learn that my Dad had money that was left in Kansas — and we have all the forms with the exception of the a proof of residency for their home in 1968 — my sister finds out how to get the old title to prove his residency.

Within weeks, we get a check for $2,500. We moved from Kansas in 1969 and grew up hearing stories about how my parents had to borrow the down payment to buy our home. The idea that there were assets that got left in Kansas more than 40 years ago that ended up being worth $2,500 is a little mind-blowing.

Given the amount of accounts you accumulate today, it’s easy to understand how easy it might be to forget about a stock certificate, utility deposit, or even a small retirement account. Enriched. 


To do a quick search to see if you are entitled to missing funds, visit MissingMoney.org. Enter your name and state and you will get back a list of possible matches. You can use their services to collect your money, or:

1) Go to the state web site where you believe you may have missing money

2) Search the state web site for “missing” or “unclaimed money”

3) Make a direct claim following the web site instructions.

MissingMoney does not include all states and not all the information — in particular some very old records. To learn more about this topic, check out Mary Pitman who wrote a book on the topic https://www.facebook.com/TheMissingMoneyLady