The only certainty in this life are death and taxes; something very few of us like to ponder.
But what if this year while you are gathering the dreaded tax documents for the IRS; you made lemonade of lemons and made it about taking care of the family you love?
As women; aren’t they really the reason we do all we do?
And as women, aren’t we naturals at multi-tasking?
While you accumulate your tax documents, create a “my family incorporated” file.
Many of the documents on this list you are already collecting for the IRS, a few are not. 
But investing a few precious moments may make a world of difference for your loved ones.

Here are the items to collect for “my family incorporated”:

  1. An updated spreadsheet with any passwords necessary for bank accounts, insurance policies. and retirement/investment assets.  If you can’t remember them; resetting them is probably a good idea anyway.
  2. Statements from all banks where you have accounts.
  3. Your latest mortgage statement.
  4. Do you own any other real estate including time shares?
  5. All your work related income information; full and any part time income.
  6. Past work related information: Do you have pensions or outstanding 401k’s?
  7. HSA account information/statement.
  8. All investment accounts.
  9. Any life insurance policies; annuities
  10. Property/casualty insurance information; information card or agent’s name.
  11. Social security statements; you can also access these statements online.
  12. Will and any HIPPA documentation
  13. Family trusts or other important legal documents

In the coming months; I’ll be writing about best practices to further take care of “My Family Incorporated”.  Until then, happy collecting.



Many of you following our articles remember growing up listening to the music of Prince.
His recent passing and subsequent estate issues lead me to tackle a tough issue: death and your loved ones.
No one likes to think of the day when loved ones will need to carry on; but they will.
We have the choice of making that process easy or difficult.  Here are some life events that indicate you may need to update your legal documents:

  1. You have moved to a new state.
  2. You have recently married or divorced.
  3. You have recently had children; or the children are now grown
  4. You don’t remember when you did the last will…

Find an estate attorney who makes it comfortable to discuss your family situation. It’s kind of like finding a physician, your goal is to find someone where you can establish a relationship.  You can get references from colleagues and friends.   Before making the appointment; here are some things to think through; this list is only a starting point.  Seek an attorney for a complete list prior to your meeting.

  1. Who will take care of any final arrangements?
  2. Who is the best person to work through any probate or estate items?
  3. Who would you like to speak on your behalf for various medical situations?

Addressing these topics certainly won’t lessen the grief of your loved ones; but giving your family peace of mind is an incredible gift in a difficult time.

Happy Family Incorporated!



Many people incorrectly think budget is a four letter word.
That’s just a little humor for you today as we tackle another difficult topic; creating a budget.
There have been numerous articles written on this subject; and many of us know we need to create a blueprint for our household.
We just never seem to get around to it, or the task feels oppressive.
Many people find that creating a budget actually gives freedom rather than taking freedom away.
Here are some pointers; and some rules of thumb for the largest monthly expense for most people; your house payment/rent payment:

It is not uncommon to hear that a mortgage 2-2 ½ times your yearly salary is a rule of thumb.  Here are some other items to consider:

  1. Do you own a business or work by contract?  Is your income variable?
  2. If you have children; what amount monthly do you spend on their activities?
  3. If you don’t have children; what amount monthly do you spend on YOUR activities J Here is where those pesky furry children come into play…
  4. Are you contributing to any retirement accounts?  If so and you have a company match, are you contributing to the amount of the match?
  5. Car payments; Do you have a payment or a lease payment?
  6. Last but most important: do you run out of money before you run out of month?

I work with many different types of people, but one fact is common.  Those clients with a clear idea of monthly expenses; and who control monthly expenses, typically have much greater financial success.

There are numerous places to find simple budget worksheets online; you are one online search away from a new beginning!


Spring has sprung, the school year is winding down and many people are planning to travel.
So, this one will be short: have you reviewed your insurance coverage?
I know, I’m a killjoy…budgets, taxes insurance.
A short review may just save you some real headaches down the road.

  1. In regards to home insurance, here are a couple of questions to ask your agent:
    1. If my home appreciates in value, as many have in recent years, are my limits up to date?
    2. Are my deductibles up to date?
    3. How much liability coverage do I have?

You may also want to consider umbrella personal liability coverage.  Discuss this option with your agent as it is typically a relatively inexpensive type of insurance and may lower the cost of your home and car insurance.

Happy travels with your “Family Incorporated”!