Money Smarts Blog

Week 2: Financial Housekeeping Challenge

Jul 6, 2020 || Nikki Dingman, Contact Center Agent

Wife hugging husband looking at computer

Congratulations on knowing where all your money (and loans) are. Let’s continue that momentum by tackling the task of organizing financial documents. You might understand your shoebox system of record keeping, but can anyone else?

Create a digital library.

Set up a folder on your personal computer to save important financial documents. When you get eStatements or payment confirmation receipts, you can save these as PDFs and organize them in your folder.

Pro tip: Since this personal identifying information is exactly what identity thieves love to get their hands on, consider adding a password to protect this financial library on top of making sure the computer or laptop that stores them is similarly password protected.

Find a secure place for original documents.

Designate a secure spot to store all your important documents and paperwork. In addition to the big things like birth certificates, marriage certificates, vehicle titles, savings bonds and social security cards, consider keeping copies of insurance policies and medical records, as well as extra checkbooks. You want to make sure you have quick and easy access to anything that would be essential in an emergency, or to anything that would be difficult to replace.

Pro tip: make it a fire-safe, waterproof lock box to cover yourself in all emergencies. You could also invest in a safe deposit box at a local bank or credit union. Just don’t forget that a safe deposit box isn’t accessible 24/7.

Dig deeper.

Sort through everything in your wallet and purse. Yes, even the purses protectively bagged and stored in your closet for special occasions need to be searched. Remove any items that you don’t use or that poses a security risk – such as old deposit slips that contain account information, seldom-used credit cards or gift cards. Shred anything you chose not to keep, relocate anything of importance to your digital library or secure physical location. If you have your social security card in your wallet, move it to the secure storage spot right away! Once you’ve covered the obvious – wallets and purses, keep digging deeper. You may have old receipts or identifying information anywhere from the glove box in your car to that junk drawer that you’ll eventually get around to sorting through.

Create easy access to insurance cards.

Make sure you have your up-to-date car insurance card easily accessible. If you live in a state that allows you to provide a digital copy of your insurance card, make sure you have your insurance app downloaded to your phone and a copy of the card saved to the phone itself. If you have a physical card or paper print-out, make sure you have the current card in your wallet or glove compartment. Shred expired copies.

Challenge: Conduct a visual household inventory for insurance purposes.

This is a great task to do once a year, after you’ve finished your spring cleaning. Room by room, using either photo or video, preserve a visual image of your possessions. Open closets, cabinets and drawers, scan shelves and peek under the beds. Upload the photos or video to your computer and save in the digital financial library you created.

Read week 3

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