I know, I know, it’s been on your list forever. Mine too. Some day, we’re going to get all of our finances organized and in one place, just in case of an emergency.
Organizing finances can be a daunting project. That’s probably why so few people do it. But I’m going to invite you to think about it in a different way – and to join me this week in taking the first step toward being prepared for the unexpected. This Friday at 10 am, I’m offering a free, 90-minute seminar at the Plymouth District Library on something I’m calling Financial “Scrapbooking.”
If you look up “scrapbooking,” you may see it described as a “method for preserving personal and family history.” Some scrapbooks contain extensive journaling, or notes and letters from the scrapbook creator to his or her intended audience. Scrapbooks are a labor of love. Mothers keep them for their children, and family historians keep them so future generations can stay connected to their ancestors.
I tend to see financial scrapbooking as a labor of love, too. The idea behind these books (or flash drives, DVDs, etc. – the method of storage is up to you) is to make life simpler for your loved ones if an unspeakable event were to keep you from being able to manage your day-to-day affairs. It’s one thing to keep your important papers -- like your medical directive, will or power of attorney -- organized. But imagine needing someone to step in and run your household! Would they know what bills you pay on a regular basis? How to care for your pets? How to cancel your regular hair appointment?
A financial scrapbook is essentially a “how-to” guide that you can entrust to a loved one. It’s different than a will, because you may need to use it while you’re still alive. Plus, few wills provide the level of detail a person would need to wind down a person’s affairs. The fun part of this project is not so much the assembly of paperwork; it’s more about your personal touch – the pictures you include, the jokes you make about your dog, or the letter you write to guide your loved one through a potential tough decision on your behalf.
Financial scrapbooking can be a great conversation starter for families, including elderly parents and young children. Through the process, you’re telling your family story, guiding each other on what’s important to your daily lives, and connecting to each other in a new way.
This Friday, I hope you’ll bring a family member – or your best friend – and join me at the Plymouth District Library. Here’s the link to register. What will you include in your financial scrapbook?