The Value of Scenario Planning

By: Ralph Broadwater, MD, CFP®, AIF®

In addition to investing to reach your goals, it is important to plan for emergencies and protect your family. Adequate insurance coverage is an important part of this protection, but proper planning is equally important. I want to encourage you to consider taking a few hours to do some scenario planning to better prepare you and your family should anything unexpected happen to you.

Imagine for a moment that tonight you have a large stroke and are incapacitated. Here are some things to think about:

1. Can your spouse or family conduct your affairs efficiently?

2. Do they know how to login to your computer?

3. Do they know how you pay your bills?

4. Can they find everything they need to function in our current electronic world? (which websites, which passwords and logins, etc.)

5. Can they put their hands on your legal documents that appoint the powers of attorney?

One of the most helpful things that you can do is to create a written document that outlines how you specifically conduct your financial affairs each month. This would describe:

1. How to login to your computer.

2. Which bills are paid automatically.

3. Which bills need to be paid electronically. How to login to the website and conduct these transactions.

4. Which bills are paid with checks. What dates are the bills due?

5. How do you access cash for emergencies?

6. Where is the safety deposit box key?

7. What is in the safety deposit box?

8. Who can access the safety deposit box? Do you need to add someone else?

In addition to writing down these family business procedures, you should consider how you capture and record all of your logins, passwords, and other important information. You want to keep this secure, but want your spouse of family member to be able to access this information should anything happen to you. Imagine the problems that would be created if your computer startup is password protected and no one but you knows how to get your computer up and running. Take some time and make sure your spouse or family knows how to get into your computer.

I like the program Roboform (http://www.roboform.com) for capturing all of my computer related passwords and other secure information. It is a very useful program that manages all of your passwords, will generate secure passwords for you, login to websites automatically for you, and fill online forms automatically. There are also versions for all browsers and all smartphones.

Using this program to automate all logins and websites would allow your designee to conduct all of your online affairs much more efficiently. They would only have to know how to login to your computer and the password to start Roboform.

It is also helpful to review the keys on your keychain. Would your spouse or family know what each key is for? Is there anything locked away that you have forgotten about or that your spouse or family should know about?

Take some time to plan for these emergencies and write down your personal processes and procedures, including logins, passwords, etc. Your loved ones will thank you for your foresight.

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