A new monthly feature at the EBW Blog will be EBW Life, where we spotlight a partner organization or individual we believe offers additional value to not just your financial health, but your overall physical and mental well-being too.
This month we are pleased to interview Kay H. Bransford, the best-selling author of MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing your Life and the founder of MemoryBanc. Her company is dedicated to securing important life details to help simply your life.
Q: Tell us more about MemoryBanc and what it is your organization does?
A: We focus on helping people feel confident about their day-to-day cash flow as well as keep them engaged and involved. We include our award-winning system to organize personal accounts, assets, and documents. With some clients we help them manage bill payments, for others we help them understand their cash-flow and stay on top of their spending/saving goals, and for others we help schedule and stay on top of home maintenance or fill in for extended vacations. Our goal is to act as personal assistants for great living.
Q: What compelled you to start the company?
A: My parents planned well, but when their health slowed them down and made it difficult to manage their affairs, I stepped in to help. The most difficult thing I realized is that what my parents kept in their heads, on their phones, in filing cabinets, or in a bank box – all of the important information I needed to know and be able to access. Getting a handle on all of their personal, financial, medical, online, and household information was overwhelming. I created a system to help me that I could then share with my siblings and when colleagues and friends asked for it to help with their parents, I realized that it was an underserved market need. I wrote up a business plan, entered it in a contest and won the award for “Older Adult Focused Innovation” from the AARP Foundation.
Q: Why is it so important for individuals to have all their information and data organized for their loved ones in case the unthinkable happens?
A: The reality, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources, is 70 percent of us will need three or more years of long-term care services. Someone will need to be able to advocate for us and the best way to help the person who is trying to help you is to organize your information. Most people think about “Wills” and I try to convey to them it's much more important to think about Powers of Attorney for finances and medical issues. Powers of Attorney impact us while we are living and it’s up to each of us to pick a good advocate and arm them with the information to be able to help us. Being married doesn’t necessarily mean our spouses know what to do. For example, Consumer Reports found only 30 percent of couples could even name the three largest assets they hold jointly - which means many won't even know how to access those accounts.
CNN Money reported that disorganization costs Americans over $58 Billion! Its money lost in a move, personal crisis, or death that sits in a dormant account until it’s turned over to a State or Federal Treasury.
If you want to make sure someone can advocate for you, as well as ensuring your money doesn’t end up in the growing pool of missing money [instead of being used by you or loved ones], it’s time to think deeply about getting better organized.
Q: What’s the number one takeaway you hope someone reading this article will come away with in regard to MemoryBanc?
A: How important it is to every adult since it will impact you when you are living. We have some simple tools from MemoryBanc: Your Workbook to Organizing Life to onsite daily money management services to help organize and manage if you need some extra help to get it done.
Q: What are some immediate steps you'd recommend our clients take upon reading this interview with you, so they can ensure no problems arise for their children or caregivers in the future?
A: Everyone over 18 should have a roadmap to their personal, financial, medical, online, and household accounts, documents, and details. The three steps to make sure this benefits YOU include:
- Get Organized – You can download a document at our website detailing all of the important records you need to protect your belongings.
- Walk the person you have named through your roadmap - Talk to the person you have named about where they can get a copy of your Power of Attorney (POA) and the roadmap when they need it. Walk them through the process of getting to it and talk to them about what is important to you. Do it when you are healthy, and you will avoid the uncomfortable conversations that too many avoid after there is a crisis.
- Do this EVERY year - Update your roadmap and revisit your wishes with the person you have named POA, every year. You will be surprised how much changes in a year.