“Kar lo Duniya Mutthi Me!!” is something which we aspired to do in our childhood. Loosely translated, it means ‘capture the world in your fist’. Today I am proud to say that my entire ‘duniya’ (world) is in my ‘mutthi’ (fist). This is because I can hold my mobile phone in my fist and operate the entire world through the same. I can shop online, transfer money, operate my bank account, pay my credit card bill, pay my electricity bill.. practically everything… Wow… How convenient…
And of course, nobody can operate my mobile phone. Because it can be opened only by a retina scan. Or using my fingerprints. So my teenage son cannot operate my mobile phone. My wife cannot see my whatsapp chats with my numerous girlfriends. If ever there was privacy.. this is it!
Last week a distant relative passed away. He must have been around 60. He had done his health check up just a few days back and was fine. That fateful day, just after lunch he was sitting on the couch and had a massive heart attack. He passed away before he could receive any help. In today’s age 60 is still young.
This incident shook me up completely. Life is uncertain and everyone comes with an expiry date. However unlike packaged foods, it is not printed on the package and not known to everybody. This incident got me thinking.
A death is a morose event. You will have people coming over to pay you condolences. Relatives will be looking at preparations to carry out the last rites. It is only after a few days that the family will think of accessing the savings and the finances. Unfortunately, everything is in the phone. And the phone can be accessed only with a retina scan or fingerprint. By the time they realise what needs to be done, the body is already disposed off!!!
The last thing on people’s mind on seeing my dead body will be to open my phone by prising my eyes open or by using the fingers to unlock the phone. Effectively, its like carrying secrets to the grave; only these are not secrets. While it may not be possible to carry my wealth with me to the next world, there is a real possibility that my next of kin may not be able to access the same.
My parents used to have a big folder where all financial documents are stored. Today all my backups are stored on the cloud. And I pride myself for being paperless!! Since that day I have started doing the following:
1. Making a list of all my email addresses with passwords, so my spouse can access the same.
2. Making a list of passwords to access my computer – in case it is encrypted
3. Making a list of all my bank accounts with Bank account numbers and user ids to access accounts online
4. Am checking where most of the accounts are individual – does a nomination exist
5. Am ensuring that most accounts are joint with my wife
6. Making a list of all my insurance policies
7. Making a list of all my investments
8. Made a list of all usernames and passwords to access the investments and insurance policies
9. Telling my spouse where she can access the list
During the lockdown I met a batchmate of mine, Balaji after close to 30 years. One of the most profound things that he has told me is that you need to create a ‘fire drill document’. That is a step by step SOP which the spouse or the Next of Kin needs to follow in case Lord Yama (The God of Death) decides to pay you a sudden visit. True to his name it is godly wisdom.
While I haven’t implemented his suggestion and created the ‘Fire Drill Document’ as yet, it is an item on my agenda to be created before the end of the Financial Year. I think one of the first things that everyone need to do is create a “Fire Drill Document” for your family.. immediately!!!
I thought I was a smart guy when it came to work. But smartness is of no use, if the money you earn cannot be accessed by your near and dear ones. And of course, Lord Yama always comes unannounced!!