Episode 028

Why You Need a Family Emergency Binder

When it comes to something unexpected happening to you or your spouse, are you prepared? None of us want to have to think about this, and preparing for the unexpected isn’t exactly the most fun thing in the world. But if something were to happen, assistance for whoever will be taking care of your affairs can slightly ease the burden of what is already likely to be an emotionally turbulent time.

When it comes to the transition of a person from one world to the next world, it is very challenging for one person to manage everything. Sometimes emergencies happen, and people will need to come in to assist very quickly. Whether it’s bills that need to be paid, withdrawing money from the bank, worrying about the estate plan, or speaking to lawyers, there’s a lot to think about.

This week, I’m bringing you a short and sweet episode about real-life situations that sometimes aren’t so sweet and sharing the importance of taking the time to put together a family emergency binder. Hear how doing so can minimize the impact on your children or family, some of the details you can put into your family emergency binder, and why everybody should have one of these in place in the unfortunate event of something unexpected happening.

If you would like to continue working on your relationship with money, change your mindset around growing wealth, or want help managing your business finances, I’m running a 4-day money alchemy training this week and I’d love for you to join me. I’ll be teaching you all of this and more. Click here to sign up and if you can’t join me live, you can get the recording!

If you want a flash of fresh financial inspiration and actionable tips to rewrite and master your relationship with money every week in your inbox, sign up for my email list! When you sign up, you’ll receive my free Money Mindset workbook that has been known to get people making more, investing more, and having warm, fuzzy, money conversations with their partners. I’ll see you in your inbox!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why everybody should have a family emergency binder.
  • The reason I was inspired to record this episode and why I know it will benefit you.
  • Some of the information and documents you can put into your family emergency binder.
  • How having a family emergency binder can make an already troublesome time more bearable for the person in charge of your affairs.
  • Where to start with creating a family emergency binder.


Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 28.

Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money, without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money Coach, Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of under earning and under saving, sabotage the growth of your business, and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.

Well, hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. I have a funny story for you today about taking lemons and turning them into lemonade. You see, it is Friday morning and my house… My house is quiet. My husband went to exercise. My two boys, who live at home. My other boy, who’s not married, is in a dormitory. My other ones, who live here, they’re at school right now. And, I am recording my podcast for the third time this week.

I, seemingly, have had tech problems with my microphone. So, if you are in business for yourself, or you are doing anything in the world, and things don’t go right the first time, you’re going to try and try again. Right? If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. And, whatever lemons life throws at to you, you’re going to turn them into lemonade.

That is a perfect segue into what I’m going to talk about, which really was just a teeny part of the two podcasts that I already recorded for today. I’m just going to make this a super-focused, super-short podcast. And, it’s going to be all about why you need a family emergency binder.

I decided that I wanted to speak about this topic, this week, for two specific reasons: Number one, I went to a funeral on Tuesday, my daughter in law’s grandfather passed away. He had pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed right around the time my son and daughter-in-law got married, two years ago. For any of you who know anything about pancreatic cancer, it is very clear that there is no cure. People pretty much know from the beginning what the end is going to be.

I mean, we all know that the famous sentence, right? “That the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes.” And, “We should all live and be well. You should live and be well to 120,” as we say in Hebrew. We all know the end is coming sometime, and none of us know our date.

My daughter-in-law’s grandfather had a lot of warning. And, at the funeral, his very, very lovely wife, now widow, thanked her children, among other beautiful things she said about her late husband. She thanked her three children, each of which had a special position during the last two years.

One of her sons is a doctor. So, he was the minister of health, minister of medicine. Another son is my daughter in law’s father, actually, and he was the minister of religion for the family. That was especially important around which medications he could take on Sabbath, and how, and administering them in keeping with the Jewish tradition, and our Jewish laws. And then, of course, with the funeral, making sure that everything went according to Jewish law. And the third child, a daughter, whose name was Deborah, and I love this, she was the minister of finances.

It just goes to show you that in the life of a person, and then the transition of a person from one world to the next world, it’s very challenging for one person to manage everything. So, whether there were bills to be paid, or whether it was withdrawing money from the bank, worrying about the estate plan, speaking with the lawyers, the accountants.

I wasn’t involved in the particulars, but as a professional, who has been involved in financial planning and the financial world, and I also was involved with my mother’s estate, I’m one of the executors of her estate, together with my sister. So, I know that there are many details involved, on the financial side, when somebody is in a medical crisis, about with ill health.

Sometimes we can’t be managing all of the payments, and the transactions, and moving money around, and making sure the electricity bill is being paid, when we’re also managing a health crisis.

I’ve spoken about this before. This was true for us when my husband had cancer, nearly 20 years ago. He was very occupied just healing, and being exhausted receiving his chemo, and resting in bed when he was at home. As a mother of, then, six small children, I was also in charge of all of the financial duties, which up until then, we had split, more or less. Even things that I took on me then, I’m still in charge of now, twenty years later. Because a household has a lot of activities, and you are wearing many, many hats in your day-to-day, month-to-month, life.

So, my daughter-in-law’s grandfather, their family, had two years to prepare whatever needed to be prepared. And, because they’re very organized types, everything was, I’m sure… I wasn’t involved, again. I’m sure that everything for his transition to the next world was also put in place.

In contrast to that, this week, in the Jewish calendar, we also celebrated a holiday called, Lag Ba’omer. That is the 33rd day of the Omer. It’s a period in which we count 50 days from the holiday of Passover, Pesach, to the holiday of Shavuot.

Last year, on Lag Ba’omer, there was a very big gathering in the city of Meron, and unfortunately, there was a stampede and crushing at the event, and 45 people lost their lives. It was a sudden event. Nobody expected that any of the people who went up to Meron would not come back.

I actually had a son and a couple of sons-in-law who were there at the event, and thank God, they were safe and they weren’t in the area where the stampeding and crushing took place. Of course, we were very worried about them until we heard. As you can imagine, in a crisis, all of the phone lines and the telecommunications shut down, so we were very relieved when we heard from them.

Among the 45 people who lost their lives, there were youngsters, and there were older people, like all of the age ranges. And, some of those people who lost their lives were heads of households. I remember looking in the paper, this one is a father of five, and this one is a father of six, and this one is… Like it just went on and on. It was incredibly heartbreaking. It is still incredibly heartbreaking.

As someone with a financial planning and estate planning background, the thought also comes up in my mind, “I wonder if their families had been prepared for the unexpected, for the phone call that you never, ever want to get?” So, I thought that I would come on the podcast today, to you, and speak about, really from my heart, the importance of you having a family emergency binder.

I’m going to direct you to my website, DebbieSassen.com/ice-binder, because on my website, you can buy a PDF download of something called, the Family Emergency Binder. This is the only product for which I am an affiliate. It’s a $39 product. My affiliate little payout that I receive, in no way impacts the amount of money that you pay for it.

I really encourage you to do it, from all my heart, because you can download this PDF. You can fill in your family’s most important information: All of your bank accounts, your usernames and your passwords, the name of your accountant, the name of your financial planner, the name of your lawyers. It even has medical information pages there. So, if you’re allergic to penicillin, like I am, you can put that in. You can put in documents.

A year ago, my husband and I went to the lawyer, and we filled out durable powers of attorney. That means that if either one of us is unable to speak for ourselves, or manage the finances for ourselves, while we are still alive, we have appointed some of our children as agents for us. We have two agents for our finances, and we have two agents for our health.

You could put these documents, also, that you signed with a lawyer, inside your Family Emergency Binder. And, if you are a parent of young children, you can also put into this emergency binder: Your child’s favorite dinners, your child’s favorite cuddly toy, does your child need a pacifier or not? Because, sometimes emergencies happen and someone has to come in very, very quickly in order to be like a guardian or take care of your children.

Of course, there’s the emotional burden that is happening at the time there’s a family crisis or an emergency. And, we want our children to be impacted as little as possible. It’s already hard enough if the parents are in hospital.

We’ve all read stories, in the newspaper, that there was a car accident; people lost their lives, people were in the hospital. And, there were children who were being taken care of by grandparents, by neighbors, aunts, uncles, whatever it is.

It would be so much smoother to have a point person who knows the child’s favorite bedtime story, the favorite blanket, the favorite cuddly toy. It’s just those little things that make that lemon, you know, turn into lemonade, and then there’s a little bit of sugar that makes the lemonade just that much sweeter.

None of us want to have to do this Family Emergency Binder preparation. It’s not fun; I agree with you. My husband and I are kind of in cahoots with this, there are times that we’re very organized and systematic, and we go through our Family Emergency Binder and we update all of our bank account details, because sometimes they change.

Or sometimes, we open up a new plan in our pension, and we want to make sure that all of those details are marked down. Then, there are times that we just take a break. We would rather go away for the weekend, like we did a couple of weeks ago. It’s so much more fun to be at the beach, sunning on a towel, diving into the waves. I agree with you 1,000%.

However, if something happens, if the unexpected happens to you and your family, whoever is there to take care of you, who’s ever there to clean up the mess, and I don’t have a nicer way to say that, they will be so grateful. And, they will be so thankful if you have taken the time to put together a family emergency binder.

We don’t plan to fail; we fail to plan. So, you have to look at your life right now, and figure out what’s going right with your finances. Are your bank accounts in order? Are you making as much money as you can? Is your mindset tweaked so that you can really grow and make your millions? Are you investing for your retirement? And, do you have your family emergency binder in place?

There’s a lot to do with our finances, I agree with you. And, make sure that you are carving out time in your week or in your month, put it on your calendar, and just do it.

The binder that you can get by going to my website, there’s a PDF download version, which you can fill in and then you can save. There’s also a version that you can save on a USB, so that you don’t have to have the information on your computer, where somebody might be able to find it if they stole your computer or something like that.

Or, maybe you don’t want to have the hardcopy, you print it out, whatever it is. Or, you might want to get a USB. Save all the information, and if you have adult children, you could give that adult child of yours, one-two-four of them, you can give them the information with a password. Again, they can click on it only in case of emergency. But help your children, help your siblings, help your parents know how to take care of you in the event of emergency.

Alright, my friends, that is what I have for you today. It’s a short, sweet podcast about real life situations that sometimes aren’t so sweet.

If you would like more sweetness in your life, this week, I am running a four-day free training: Money Alchemy Accelerator. It’s on Zoom and you can go to my website, DebbieSassen.com/alchemy, and sign up for the free training.

If you’re not able to join me live, once you sign up, you’re going to get the recordings. There’s going to be amazing information in there about your mindset for growing wealth, about how to manage your business finances, what you should really be focusing on in order to be a growing, thriving business owner who is making and keeping more money and building long term wealth.

I look forward to seeing you in the four-day training. I’ll see you on the podcast next week. Bye for now.

Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast visit MasteringMoneyInMidlife.com.

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