Life is an unpredictable adventure. Try as you might, you can never plan for unexpected events such as natural disasters, theft or death. The best way to prepare yourself and your loved ones for such emotionally unstable times is to have a well organized financial life. Use these tips to make sure that you have all of your family’s important information in one place. Use an accordion file or organizational method of your choice; just make sure it’s together.
Keep At Home:
• Complete list of financial accounts, member service phone numbers and your passwords. Be sure to include credit cards, debit cards, local and on line banks. Review this monthly or as often as you change banking passwords.
• Copies of all insurance policies, warranties, contracts and guarantees.
• Property: Including mortgages, land ownership deeds and investment properties.
• Vehicles: Include loan information, titles, and drivers licenses for each car and family member.
• Personal: Have photocopies of birth, marriage, death, adoption, divorce and citizenship papers.
• Copies of your will, instructions for your last days, and keys to your safe deposit box.
• Taxes: Keep copies of federal and state taxes from the past six years.
• Employment: Keep records of pension plans, retirement plans, resumes and employment history.
• Education: Keep high school and college transcripts.
• Medical: Copies of medical records from birth. Whenever you switch doctors, get your file and keep it for future reference.
• Household Items: Keep a running inventory of all valuable items either digitally or text.
In A Safe Deposit Box:
• Birth, death, marriage, divorce, adoption and citizenship papers.
• Property deeds
• Motor vehicle titles
• Stock and bond certificates
• Employment and housing contracts
• Military discharge and veteran papers
• Patents and copyrights
• Important discs, CDs, USBs
• Photos or digital records of your home inventory
Start working on this today and do one thing each day until you are done. Most of these just take some time to find and organize. Set your timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can in that time each day. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish and just how good you will feel when it’s finished. When life hands you the unexpected, you’ll be so thankful that all this information was at your fingertips.