Dealing with Life’s Unpleasantries

My husband was up to something.  He was pounding away at the computer and printing like a madman.  When I didn’t hear the whir of the printer, there was the distinct sound of the three-hole punch chewing its way through paper.

“I’m working on something,” is all he would say.  It seemed to excite him, this project.  I wondered what it was.

When “it” appeared, it wasn’t impressive looking.  It was a plain white three-ring binder.

“Open it,” is all he said, smiling.

I wondered if it was something romantic.  He was beaming like a cat that just dragged home a bird carcass as an affectionate offering.

“What is it?” I asked.

“The Death Book,” for some strange reason, he was still smiling. “In case something should happen to me, this book will tell you where everything is, who you need to contact…” he continued on, but I wasn’t listening any longer.

I recoiled from this stark white book like it was a jinx.

“Look at it, this is important,” he said.  He wasn’t smiling any longer.  He looked irritated that I didn’t share his enthusiasm for The Death Book.

“It’s morbid,” I said, “I don’t like thinking about this stuff.”

“Well if something were to happen to me and you were stuck digging around trying to find out all this information, then you’d  really be depressed,” he flipped open the book.

In it was all the information I could possibly need: Copies of our wills, all the account numbers, passwords, and phone numbers for the kids’ college funds, our joint accounts and retirement accounts, information about his pension, the details of our life insurance policies, and social security information.  He had totaled up what kind of payout I could expect.  His excitement morphed into relief as he shut the book.

“Well, that’s that,” he said. “Everything is taken care of.”

I had the sense that he would sleep better that night knowing that this was off his shoulders.  As for me, I told myself that The Death Book was the best insurance policy I could have that my husband would live a long, long life.


Want to Build Your Own Book? There are books out there that you can buy, or you can simply get a three ring binder or folder and put the following in it:

  • Copies of your wills, healthcare proxies, durable power of attorney
  • Social Security cards and statements
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Papers
  • Titles/Deeds to house and cars and any other real estate
  • Current statements for all Bank Accounts, including account numbers and passwords
  • Current statements for all retirement accounts, including account numbers and passwords
  • Current statements for all taxable individual and joint investment accounts, including account numbers and passwords
  • Current statements for all college savings accounts, including account numbers and passwords
  • All savings bonds (or list of them with maturity dates)
  • Insurance policies (account number, passwords, terms of payout)
  • Employer sponsored retirement accounts, including account numbers and passwords
  • Pension funds (account number, passwords, terms of payout)
  • Any lists of instructions you have for family members
  • Any list of personal effects that you would like handed down to specific family members and/or friends
  • Some people personalize their books with family stories that they want handed down, or with personal messages (letters) to loved ones

Authored by: Anthony Dina Isola

Dina Isola, President of Real$martica, Inc. - COO and Director of Investor Relations, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. Following a successful career in marketing communications in the financial industry, Dina and her husband, Anthony, founded a registered investment advisory firm, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc., and ultimately the idea for the educational company Real$martica, Inc. was born. In dealing with investors and hearing their concerns, she spearheaded ATI’s investor education efforts, coordinating with local libraries and townships to offer free investor education seminars. She has volunteered her time, writing financial articles and has conducted investor education classes geared to family financial matters. She is President of Real$martica, Inc. and is COO and Director of Investor Relations for ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. and personally handles all communications for both firms. She is active in her local business community and serves on the Brookhaven Business Advisory Council and is a member of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. She earned a BA in English and Communications from Fairfield University. She is a registered investment adviser, and is a licensedreal estate salesperson in New York State.  Prior to founding Real$martica, Inc. she was a Vice President in charge of marketing communications for a privately-held investment management company in New York City.  She has worked in the financial industry since 1987. thumb_tony_isolasAnthony T. Isola,  President, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. Anthony has married his passions, investing and education. He is President and founder of ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. (“ATI”) a registered investment advisory firm. His vast knowledge in matters of finance brings a well-rounded perspective to all that he does. As an educator, he has a natural ability to explain complicated economic and financial concepts and make the practical application of these concepts come to life. In working with clients, he recognized how overwhelming building a financial plan can be, especially when most investors are vulnerable due to their ignorance on financial matters. He prides himself on empowering investors to understand how to look out for their interests and not fall prey to financial arrangements that will take them off goal.  In addition to managing assets for clients, he has counseled investors on social security benefits, retirement income assessments, and college planning. He teaches history at Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School and oversees students’ participation in The Stock Market Game and financial literacy for the Plainview Old-Bethpage Central School District. He has taught financial related courses to children, parents and staff members in the district, as well as to Long Island residents. He holds a New York State Permanent Certification (in Social Studies). He earned a BA degree in Economics from Boston University and a MS degree in Secondary Education from Hofstra.  Prior to teaching, he worked as a foreign currency trader in New York City for large international banks.

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