The Prepare My Life Planner: An Interview With the Creator

If you are working toward preparing for emergencies, you need to check out this binder!  An emergency preparedness guide and grab and go binder in one!

My blog finally started to “take off” when my Important Documents post went a bit viral on Pinterest.  It seems people are interested in having some help with putting together a grab and go binder of their important documents.  A little while after I wrote that post, my friends Jodi and Julie from Food Storage Made Easy were telling me about this expensive planner that they had started selling and how wonderful it was.  I laughed and was even a bit annoyed.  After all, my important documents post took care of all of that and FOR FREE!

Well fast forward a few years and as much as I still loved that post and the binder I created, I had found some holes.  Some were literal (I couldn’t keep that darn passport to stop slipping out) and others just figuratively speaking.

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But for everything I had in my binder, the Prepare My Life binder had things I hadn’t even thought of!  So, I gave Tami, the creator of the binder a call and told her that I was interested in her binder.  She agreed to let me sell them for a discount on my site and I ordered mine.

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I have not been disappointed!  This binder is worth every penny (and more) that it costs.  It is a HUGE upgrade to the one I had and I feel far more secure knowing I have all the information Tami suggests in one place.In addition to a grab and go binder, this is a full emergency planning system.  It walks you through the process of creating an emergency plan for your family step by tiny little step.  Tami truly has thought of everything.

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I thought that some of you may want to “meet,” Tami before purchasing her binder so I interviewed her for you.

 tami

Prepare My Life Binder

Tami, tell us a bit about your experience in the preparedness industry.

I started my first emergency preparedness business in 1997 when I lived in Los Angeles.  I was very motivated to be prepared after I experienced my first earthquake when I was on maternity leave with my first baby.  I researched and tested products simply for my own benefit to become better prepared.  When my son entered kindergarten it was mandatory by California state law that every school child had 72 hours of supplies on the school premises.  They wanted me to purchase a fanny pack with minimal items in inside.  After looking at the contents (and the price!) I asked if I could bring my own “kit”.  The only limitation was that it had to fit in a gallon size bag.  The kit I put together for my boy was awesome!  In fact, the school asked if I would make them for other parents who wished to purchase them.  This was the start of my first business.  I soon went from school to school and packed thousands of kits at the beginning of each school year.  This blossomed into teaching classes and seminars educating people how to be prepared.  In 2007 I was approached by a publisher to write a book and “The Essential Food Storage Cookbook” was released.  Since then I have written two other books (one being the Prepare My Life Planner) and created a unique line of emergency preparedness products. 11
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Why did you create The Prepare My Life Planner?

As I teach classes and talk with people about their preparedness efforts and or experiences with emergencies, I’ve realized there is a void in the industry.  Many people with good intentions to be prepared are gathering supplies or at least realized the need to have supplies, but very few people have a solid plan.  A good plan and advanced preparations are essential for surviving disasters of all types.  Nearly every government website in the United States, both city and federal, encourages their residents to have a plan but in reality, very few people do.  Truthfully, few people actually know what that means or how to go about doing it, yet it is vital when piecing your life back together after a disaster.  The plan is glue that holds all of the preparedness together yet there was no plan available that was complete and easy to implement.  That is why I created the Prepare My Life Planner. 15
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Why did you name the planner what you did?

I love the name “Prepare My Life Planner” because the planner has so much more value to it than just for emergencies.   First, the process of going through each checklist and form in the planner and collecting your important information and documents will mentally and physically help you to be prepared and to be preparedness minded.  In the event of an actual emergency it will be critical that you have this information in a grab and go format and a plan ready to implement.  However, the planner also serves as a place to house all of this information in an organized manner — documents, keys, cash, maps, inventory, insurance, destination planning, emergency contact information, vital records, family pictures, computer files, titles,  deeds, wills, trusts, etc.  all in one secure place, tabbed and easy to find.   If you need a social security card, or passport, or immunization card, you know right where to find it.  There is no searching through drawers, boxes and filing cabinets.  The planner is a time saver for sure!   Thirdly,  if something were to happen to you, family members need to know how to take care of your affairs.  The only thing assured in this life is that we will all leave it at some point.  Someone needs to know if you have life insurance or what accounts need to be closed or if you want to be a donor or if you have burial plots.  The planner makes that very easy for your loved ones left behind and gives you peace of mind until it is your time to go. 1716
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What would the financial cost be for someone to create this planner on their own?

We actually went to Office Max and purchased a similar binder and all of the plastic pages, pouches, pockets, tabs, folders, forms, CD, pen, calculator, etc. to try and duplicate the planner.  It cost well over $100.  And that was just the hardware of the binder and did not include any of the printed material that comes with the planner!  The Prepare My Life Planner also guides you through an easy to follow step-by-step plan that teaches family members how to react in an emergency, assists you in making basic but critical emergency preparations, and organizes and stores your vital records and important documents.  That guidance is priceless. 28
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How long did it take you to put together this planner?

It took many months to assemble all of the information and create the forms for the planner.  I not only wanted the planner to be extremely informational and easy to follow but I also wanted to make sure that every page, pocket, pouch, folder, etc. was perfect for the items it was going to contain.  I wanted the information sectioned and tabbed so that anything you needed was easy to find and at your fingertips.  I went through several scenarios in order to have a place for any document or necessary item that might be unique to individual families.  I also wanted the planner to be informational and a preparedness resource to help prepare your home and family.  It includes lists, tips, graphics, forms, experiences, etc. 24
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What is your favorite part of the planner?

My favorite part of the planner is the peace of mind that everything is in order and organized.  This is one of those tasks (like many others) that can only be done before an emergency but is so usable and functional in everyday living.  It’s a great feeling to be prepared and I want to share that great feeling! 25
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Anything else you’d like us to know about the planner?

The Planner comes with quite a few forms to fill out.  If you don’t want to fill them out by hand you can download them from the website in a writeable PDF format.  The planner will come with an access code that will allow you to download the forms from the website right to your hard drive.  You can type in the information, print it, and add it to the binder.  When the information changes (i.e. if you move, or purchase a new car, or get new insurance, or change your emergency contacts, etc.) you can easily update the information and print it out to keep your planner current.  At the bottom of each form there is a place for the date indicating the latest version of the form so you will always know how current your information is. Remember, trying to prepare for everything all at once is not only overwhelming but nearly impossible . . . and discouraging. Take baby steps. Preparedness is not an event that happens overnight. It is a process to be taken step by step and soon it becomes a part of life. Being prepared brings peace, comfort, and security.  It’s a great feeling to be prepared! 6
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Thank you Tami for your time today and for your amazing binder!
Prepare My Life Binder

If you are working toward preparing for emergencies, you need to check out this binder!  An emergency preparedness guide and grab and go binder in one!