was born out of a personal desire to fill a pervasive need. Everyone has a story about a life-changing event that blindsided them or someone they love. Perhaps they were the victim of a natural disaster or serious accident. Maybe there was a debilitating illness or death in the family. In any case, these experiences often expose how unprepared we are to deal with calamity.

My story starts with a purple folder. 

My Mother, Dodie Hutchinson.

My Mother, Dodie Hutchinson.

In 2008, my mother was battling lung cancer and facing the realization that she could die from her illness. She told my siblings and me that there was a purple folder containing her final wishes. None of us asked to see it. We never talked about the folder’s contents because we trusted it would be there when we needed it. When my mother passed away, our grief was profound. To honor my mother, we knew her service should be exactly as she wanted. Unfortunately, the purple folder was never found. Without it, my family was left with many questions and disagreements over what her wishes might have been. The situation caused a rift between us that lingered far too long. 

Within a year of my mother’s death, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Again, we were caught off-guard and left scrambling to manage his affairs. Six months after my dad’s diagnosis, I learned that my uncle had Alzheimer’s disease as well. A recent widower with no children, my uncle needed my assistance. I flew from my home to his Florida residence many times, making sure he received proper medical care and housing. Handling his finances was a time-consuming, stressful chore because the paperwork was in disarray. Although my uncle had written a will and done some estate planning, it became clear to me that preparation without organization is still a problem. I remember thinking:  “There has to be a better way.”

Since then I have heard from many people with their own “purple folder” stories. These experiences became the catalyst behind creating The Personal Affairs Portfolio – a reliable, convenient tool to help us all get organized so that we can be better prepared to deal with life’s challenges. I've made The Portfolio an easy to use system that guides you step-by-step through the various categories of your life where you capture information that will be needed when you aren't able to share it.  I believe a completed Personal Affairs Portfolio is truly a gift for yourself and others.