Navigating the Paper Trail
By Janice Llanes Fabry
If one of your New Year?s resolutions is to organize those piles of paper that have been sitting on your desk for the better of the new millennium, you?re in luck. Now Be Organized will do the dirty work for you. Lisa Degen?s professional organizing services will tidy up personal, financial, legal, and medical matters so efficiently and systematically that you?ll never have to stress about them again.
?While technology has improved many aspects of life, it has not reduced the amount of paper we have to deal with,? remarked Degen. ?If Ben Franklin were alive today, he would say, ?In this world nothing is certain except death, taxes, and paperwork.??
Now Be Organized provides document management solutions for people who want to simplify and streamline their lives. In addition to establishing filing systems to manage that pesky paperwork, Degen provides clients with personal document organization, office overhauls, tax records preparation, and 60+ services for those in that AARP demographic. To get the ball rolling, she starts off with a free phone consultation.
?I?d like to be a resource for anyone in our community navigating a transition, so you can get answers and support when you?re overwhelmed, whether it?s a HIPAA release form for your sick 18-year-old child, power of attorney for aging parents, or an IRS audit,? said the longtime Rye resident, who founded an earlier?version of Now Be Organized in 2011.
When the youngest of her three sons was in Middle School at Resurrection, she began helping friends of friends overwhelmed by the enormity of the requisite organizing that precedes selling a house or even cleaning out a garage. This past March, Degen decided to narrow her focus.
?I zeroed in on my strengths and interests and decided paper management, more than attics, garages, and basements, is what I like to do,? she said.
Moreover, caring for her 93-year-old mother inadvertently opened her eyes to the complex world of the aging. ?I gained firsthand experience as I took my mother through the later stages of life. ?I learned the importance of being on top of federal retirement and medical benefits which helped me determine the areas I wanted to focus on in my business,? she related.
With greater clarity for Now Be Organized, the former private banking general manager proceeded to take fundamental, ethics, and life transitions courses as a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. Subsequently, she went on to earn certifications in Financial and Estate Planning, as well as Federal and State Programs for Retirement and Health Care through the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.
?It?s important to make decisions regarding federal benefits in advance of turning 65. Not doing so can have financial consequences for the rest of your life,? she warned. Consulting with asset protection lawyers can be beneficial as well.
Degen shared other worthwhile tips, such as the importance of organizing one?s digital assets, ?anything you need a username and password for.? She recommends using password manager software. Not only is it safer than using forgettable variations of your kids? birthdays every time you log in, it generates, retrieves, and resets passwords automatically.
She also encourages everyone to give someone else access to personal documents, just in case. To that end, Degen is currently developing a?life organizer that will be available?through her website?as a roadmap for all personal, financial, legal, medical, digital and residential documents.
?Paperwork never goes away,? noted Degen. ?Having a system in place relieves the mental clutter and stress it produces so you?re never bogged down again.?
<For more information, visit nowbeorganized.com.>