I have this moment every time we go out of town, especially if we’re flying, where I freak out for a minute about what if something were to happen to Coral or I. Before you tell me that flying is safe, I know that. I’m just weird. I think about things like who’s going to take care of our dog Strider? And what about our business? If I was gone… who would send you funny emails about money?
Fortunately, the ladies at Smart Money Mamas have thought about all of this, A LOT. So much so that they have created the In Case of Emergency Binder to help put all of the important aspects of your life in one place. I’m really excited to do this emergency binder review because I really believe it’s important for every family out there, even if you’re like us and don’t have children. Not married? Even you single folks out there can still benefit from reading this emergency binder review.
I know why this stuff is so important because of how difficult it was to deal with everything when Coral’s Dad passed away a couple of years ago. We all knew it was coming, but we spent a lot of time organizing these documents and wishes, whereas it could have been done years earlier.
The thing is, putting together an emergency binder is hard. It’s the realization that something awful might happen one day. This doesn’t always mean a death in the family either. Someone could get really sick. You could even benefit from having all of your important information in one place if there was a natural disaster, like hurricane or wildfire, and we know those happen.
I get not wanting to do it, but my hope is that this emergency binder review will show you why it’s so important and how it’s actually easy when you have the right tools.
Who are the Smart Money Mamas?
Moms, they really are the best. My Mom would definitely be the one in our family who would think about this kind of stuff, so it’s no surprise that this emergency binder was conceived by a bunch of moms.
So, before I get into the actual emergency binder review, let’s talk for a second about Smart Money Mamas, the creators of the In Case of Emergency Binder.
Smart Money Mamas was founded in 2017 by Chelsea Brennan, ex-hedge fund investment manager, who wanted to create a space for women to talk about the struggles and successes that come from managing a family. They hope to reduce fear around money talks and promote healthy financial relationships.
I’m obviously not a mom, but I think all of this really cool.
What’s the In Case of Emergency Binder?
In this emergency binder review, you’re going to realize one major thing – the In Case of Emergency (ICE) Binder is soooo much more than a place to collect your important documents and list of phone numbers. It is a comprehensive way to organize your life in a way that makes it easier for someone to take over for you if something were to happen.
I’m going to go through the sections more in-depth farther down in this emergency binder review, but let me tell you a little bit of what types of information this binder will hold for you:
- Medical information
- Important personal documents
- Insurance information
- Financial information, from basic to investment info
- Employer information
- Social media/website information
- Info about your pets
- Info about your children
- Burial/memorial service preferences
That seriously isn’t even all of it – it’s 90 pages! While that might seem like a lot, it’s highly organized.
You can put so much information in this binder
If you’re thinking that 90 pages sound like a lot, well I did too at first. But as I started looking through it, I realized that if I were to put this type of information together on my own I would have overlooked so many things.
To make this emergency binder review as comprehensive as possible, I’m going to go section by section so you know what to expect.
It asks for basic contact info for family, friends, neighbors – basically the people you would contact if something were to happen.
Social security cards, birth certificates, passports, marriage license, divorce paperwork, adoption papers, etc.
It has a place to collect your health insurance information, preferred pharmacy, a list of medications, specialists, etc.
Power of Attorney for Consent to Medical Care for a Minor
Okay, so this is the kind of stuff you need to know about in this emergency binder review. It’s the above and beyond that, you might overlook if you were putting this together on your own. The Smart Money Mamas include a durable POA form, plus a page explaining why it’s important to have.
Caregiver information about your children
Not being a parent means I had no clue that there would be so many things to add for your kids. There is space for school information (including IEPs), who their friends are, what they like to do, favorite foods, etc.
Caregiver information about your pets
We have the weirdest dog ever, and this emergency binder gives us a place to tell a potential caregiver about that gross thing Strider does when he goes and sits by the door.
I’m not putting it in this emergency binder review because I don’t want to freak you out, but follow me on Instagram and you’ll see what I’m talking about in my stories.
Normal pet stuff they ask about are your vet, pet sitter, vaccination records, and medications, etc.
This is probably another thing I would completely overlook even I had kids (it’s a very mom thing, which is why I’m clueless yet appreciative), but this section lets you include info about how you celebrate birthdays, holidays, and what your family’s favorite recipes are.
A place to put information about every type of insurance you and your family might have.
Your bills, usernames and passwords, credit cards, anything with recurring payments (like Netflix), debts, etc.
A list of where to find important documents
Where your original copies of documents are and how to access them.
Your company name and contact info, where direct deposits go, employee portal login information, types of benefits, and more.
Special info for military families
This is a super detailed section, asking for survivor benefits, retirement plans, etc. There is even a page of resources for military families to find more information – including the Department of Veteran Affairs and more.
Social media info
Usernames, passwords, websites you own (especially important if you are set up for auto renewal).
Monthly money tasks, investment strategies, professionals to contact, rental property information, what to do with life insurance money, etc., etc., etc.
Burial and funeral arrangements
This hard stuff, but it really will make things easier for those you leave behind.
This section was intense, and you might sob like a baby while filling it out – think, a place to tell your loved ones the things you’ve always wanted to say, like writing to your child “I always wanted to tell you…”
I’m not crying, you are.
I know how important a place to keep this stuff is when dealing with a major loss, so it’s nice to have this space included.
Why the In Case of Emergency Binder is useful
On their website, I found this quote from one of their customers, and I feel like it really sums up why the In Case of Emergency Binder is so beneficial:
“This binder isn't really about you, it's about the people you love and saving them a lot of work and energy during a difficult time when you can't help yourself or when you are no longer here.”
Whoa… that statement kind of hits you, doesn’t it?
No one wants to deal with this stuff, but when you have a tool like the ICE binder, it makes it a little more approachable.
What I really like about the In Case of Emergency Binder
I’ll be completely honest with you, I’ve never shopped around for something like this, but I feel that $29 is a fair price for the level of organization, how it walks you through each section, and the details throughout.
It also comes with a money back guarantee, so you know they trust their product.
It’s super functional
I’ve already said this in this emergency binder review, but I’ll say it again. The In Case of Emergency Binder is really well organized and will be useful. The structure makes sense, and I’m not sure that I would have come to that on my own.
It’s also important to mention how easy it is to navigate through such a large document and find the section you need, remember 90 pages. When you use it as a PDF, you can click on sections in the index to go straight to the page you need. They also give tips for using it as a hard copy, which you should keep on hand as well.
They make it easy to fill out
I went in thinking that Coral and I could probably fill this out in a weekend, but I honestly think it would take longer than that. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the creators realize that filling this out might feel a little bit like a job.
To ease you through it all, they give some tips for filling it out in the beginning, but then they also start each section with a list of things to collect before starting.
They tell you when to update it
Your life is constantly changing, which means you’re going to need to update this every so often, and the Smart Money Mamas give you tips on how and when to do that. They even tell you how to speed up the process of updating it – I like this.
My In Case of Emergency Binder review, final thoughts
Often when we talk about long-term planning we think of investing for retirement, but you can make long-term investments that come in the form of time and emotional capacity. All of these are investments we make for our families.
No one ever wants to think about this awful stuff, but loss happens – not thinking about it and neglecting to prepare has farther reaching consequences. Being prepared is going to make all of the difference to your family.