Experiencing the death of a parent and a
life-threatening health crisis in the same
year are a walloping reminder of the fragility
of life… and
of the importance of making one’s wishes clear should one, in
the immortal words of a life insurance salesman
some years ago, “kick
the bucket.” And, perhaps feeling the gravity of those
five celestial bodies entering or passing through
Capricorn this month, I suddenly felt an irresistable
pull to get my own financial foundations in
With these experiences fresh in mind and heart, I
realized that the only will I had was
a handwritten scrap I’d hurriedly scribbled before a plane
trip 15 years ago. Under the pressure of
all this Capricorn, something had to be done. But the thought of
hiring an attorney, or worse, plowing through a do-it-yourself book,
was too daunting for words. What’s a girl to do? Well,
I turned to the most solid source of financial
advice for women I could think of: Suze Orman.
My first purchase was Suze Orman’s “Will
and Trust Kit,” which
at $15 or so seemed a bargain. And it is. Orman’s easy-to-use
CD, good on both Mac and PC, guided me through
the process of deciding whether I needed a
trust or not, explained legal phraseology,
and provided quick fill-in-the-blanks templates
for the documents I needed, which turned out
to be a will and a financial power of attorney. Best
of all, I wrote my will and all supporting
documents in a couple of hours.
Would these templates work for you if your financial
affairs were complex? Probably not. If you’re extremely wealthy?
Nope. The templates are simple and straightforward,
and only alterable to a limited degree. For
most of us, though, I think these documents
will do very nicely. And they’re
legally sound: Suze has her own will and trust
expert attorney explaining options and ramifications
at every turn.
I felt so empowered that next I turned to insurance.
Will my partner and family be covered if anything happens to me?
How much coverage should I have, and what kind? My eyes glaze over
at the very word “insurance,” and
I tend to view salespeople with suspicion verging on paranoia. But
something had to be done. I started with Suze Orman’s “Insurance
I somehow expected this kit to solve all my problems
the way the Will and Trust Kit did. But even
with Orman we can’t always be so
lucky. In this kit, Orman collects your information,
analyzes your needs, and creates customized
insurance recommendations for you in whatever
category interests you: life insurance, home
or auto insurance, disability, long-term
care, etc. The kit can provide feedback on
coverage you already have, or suggest what
type of coverage you need, if you have none.
Unfortunately, although Orman then suggests reputable
providers for whatever insurance it turns
out you need, you still have to dial the
phone. This kit leads the horse to water… but
you still have to drink from the salesperson’s
cup. Darn! However, after less than an hour
I now know exactly what types of insurance
I need, how much coverage to ask for, and
what the various features and exclusions
mean. Forewarned is forearmed. For $15, the
information gathered in this kit is a bargain.
Then, browsing through Amazon one day, I saw something
else I coveted: Suze Orman’s “Ultimate Protection Portfolio,” a
blue plastic waterproof case with everything
in it I would need to completely organize
my financial affairs AND have everything
in one place, ready to grab, if I had to.
Yes! Ever since that warm autumn afternoon
in 1989 when the Oakland Hills fire was devouring
the hillside less than a mile from my home,
my neighbors were madly packing up their
cars, and I was sitting at my desk with shaking
hands frantically trying to back up the only
copy of my dissertation draft onto floppy
disks, I’ve known
the advantages of forethought: of having
the essentials gathered in one place, ready
to grab. But knowing isn’t always
doing. My financial papers were scattered
in boxes and folders and even a storage facility.
I was thrilled when the Ultimate Protection Portfolio
arrived. The case is solid plastic, bright
blue, with a flashing light so you can spot
it in the dark, or in rain or water. Inside
are a set of organizer folders for irreplaceable
documents: debt and credit records, auto,
RV and boat titles, personal documents, social
security, tax records, and so on.
On the front of each folder is Orman’s quick advice and checklist. For instance,
on the folder entitled “personal documents,” the
checklist includes birth and adoption certificates, copy of driver’s
license, passport, military record of service, citizenship papers/green
card, marriage certificate and pre- or post-nuptial agreements, domestic
partner registration and cohabitation agreements, divorce decree and
child and spousal support order, and death certificate. Wouldn’t
having copies of all these things handy make recovering from the next
earthquake, fire, tsunami or hurricane much simpler? Absolutely. But
even better… having all of them in once place means I’ll
never have to hunt through closets, boxes,
stacks and files for another important document again. Genius!
Along with the organizing folders and checklists,
Orman includes a small paperbound book on each category of document.
The books are a quick guide to which documents you should keep, and
why. They also contain Orman’s common-sense advice on each topic in condensed
and readable form. In addition, the Ultimate Protection Portfolio contains
an updated version of the Will and Trust Kit, so you needn’t
purchase it separately. In short, this kit
has everything you need to simplify, streamline and consolidate your
entire financial life into one nearly indestructable carrying case.
I now feel well prepared—for disaster and for
life. With Orman’s
capable and thorough help, I’ve accomplished three important
things. First, I’ve got a simple, straightforward framework for
making sure I’ve made intelligent insurance choices in preparing
for the unexpected. Second, I’ve provided for continuity in the
event of natural disaster—or even the just the normal course
of life—by collecting and safeguarding copies of important documents
in one well-organized, portable, durable container.
And third, I’ve provided my heirs
with clear instructions which will spare them
headache and heartache when that big transition
Best of all, the entire process was nearly pain-free.
Capricorn, here I come. Thank you Suze!
Order Direct from Hay House
Note: these items can be ordered at a discount
directly from Hay House.