A woman after my own heart. After her husband died in a bike accident and while still in shock, Chanel Reynolds was consumed by thoughts of all the financial tasks grown-ups were supposed to have done by middle age. She and her husband had not finished them.
In the many months of suffering after Mr. Hernando’s death in July 2009, she beat herself up while spending dozens of hours excavating their financial life and slowly reassembling it. But then, she resolved to keep anyone she knew from ever again being in the same situation.Posted by Jill Fallon at January 15, 2013 8:34 PM | Permalink
The result is a Web site named for the scolding, profane exhortation that her inner voice shouted during those dark days in the intensive care unit. She might have called it Getyouracttogether.org, but she changed just one word.
First, the world of personal finance suffers from an odd sort of organizational failure. We tend to organize our thinking around products: retirement accounts, mortgages, long-term care insurance.
But in the real world, it’s a big life event that often governs our hunt for solutions. Sometimes, it’s a happy one, like getting married. But there are few ready-made tool kits like the one Ms. Reynolds has assembled for people considering the possibility of serious illness or death.
After his death, this much was clear: The family with the six-figure income and the four-bedroom house that they had bought in the Mount Baker neighborhood one year before had a will with no signature, little emergency savings and an unknown number of accounts with passwords that had been in Mr. Hernando’s head.
According to a survey that the legal services site Rocket Lawyer conducted in 2011, 57 percent of adults in the United States do not have a will. Of those 45 to 64 years of age, a shocking 44 percent still have not gotten it down.
People who get a fatal diagnosis from a doctor at least have a bit of time to sort things out. But Ms. Reynolds and her husband had made only a few plans.
There are a few things about Ms. Reynolds’s site that seem unique to me, though. The first is her raw insistence on considering what it means if you’re having trouble finding the right people to serve as your estate’s executor or to inherit prized possessions.
“If you are at a loss for whom to name, get out there and tighten up your friends and family relationships,” she writes on the site. “Find some better friends. Be a better friend. This is everything. This means everything.”
On her website is a maxim everyone should realize is true: Life and Death Planning: Low effort, high reward.