Santa Barbara-based wealth management firm AmeriFlex recently launched an online service called Honey I Got Hit By a Bus, which allows individuals and families to consolidate financial information and digitized copies of important documents into a single online interface.
The program includes real-time data on clients’ bank account balances, investments, assets, mortgages, insurance polices and other financial concerns, as well as a “vault” to store digital copies of important documents and tools to research investments and plan a budget. Next month, AmeriFlex will be releasing a variation of the program designed specifically for small business owners called gotomycfo.com.
AmeriFlex CEO and founder Thomas Goodson said part of the reasoning behind Honey I Got Hit By a Bus is that clients’ financial records and insurance information often will be scattered and difficult to access, or managed by only one member of a family, making issues such as taking care of elderly parents or dealing with a death in the family especially complicated. The product is primarily targeted toward a baby-boomer generation audience, and the name is a reference to a scenario in which someone passes away and leaves a spouse with no knowledge of important documents or information — a situation the service aims to prevent.
“The name adds a little bit of humor to what can be a dark subject and that is if someone becomes incapacitated and they have left a spouse behind,” Goodson said. “Most often, we find that one spouse knows where everything is and the other is lost.”
The service is made possible through a partnership with the financial planning software company, eMoney, and each account can be accessed from any computer with a unique username and password. Goodson said the service is able to link to more than 11,000 financial institutions, allowing the program to keep accounts continually up to date.
Goodson said one of the goals of the program is to make every piece of data easily accessible for clients so they are able to make informed decisions about their financial future. The program offers options for budget planning and goal setting, graphs and visuals and investment information uploaded from Morningstar.
“We are taking what was many pieces — disconnected, discombobulated — and what we are doing is automating everything,” Goodson said.
Due to the amount of personal data the program handles, security is a critical concern, and the service has many safeguards to protect it from potential cyber attacks. Goodson said that because the site is read-only and not transactional — meaning that there is no way to actually access funds — there is less risk for hacking. eMoney also has security measures, including government-grade firewalls, externally hired hackers who periodically attempt to circumvent the site’s security, and two highly protected data centers.
Local accountant Bonna Hamilton, who attended the Q&A to learn about how the service could benefit her clients, said she likes the simplicity and accessible nature of the site. She said she recommends it to her clients who are caring for elderly parents as an alternative to a trust company.