Storing your important financial documents correctly is incredibly important, as these necessary pieces of paper contain valuable information and are not easily regained after losing. To ensure your documents stay safe, follow these seven storage tips. They will keep you secure in several unexpected situations and allow you to stay organized in your daily life.
1: Know What to Keep
To cut down on clutter, it is important to know what to keep and what to throw away. Receipts need only be kept for one year. Tax documents, last will and testimony, bank statements, life insurance information, and any other legal financial documents need be kept indefinitely.
2: Organize into Folders
Now that you know what to keep, organize those important documents into folders. Put all tax information in one, bank statements in another, and so on. This will allow for easy access later.
3: Make Copies of Vital Documents
You should have three copies of all vital documents. You don’t need to start copying all your bank statements, however. What you do need to make copies of include your will, life insurance information, and the summary page of your yearly tax information. Include birth certificates for everyone in the home. This provides valid identification in the even it becomes necessary.
4: Copy #1 to the Family Safe
The original copy if your documents should go into the family safe. If you do not already have one, now is the time to invest in it. You should choose one that is fireproof and waterproof, as this ensures the documents will remain intact should a disaster occur.
5: Copy #2 to the Desk
One copy of your valuable information should be kept in your home desk for easy access. Sometimes it is necessary to read and/or use these documents, and that is what these copies are for. You should only pull the originals out should it be 100% necessary for a legal purpose.
6: Copy #3 to a Storage Unit
The final copy of your important documents should be stored at an off-site place, and storage units make the perfect option. A small 5×5 unit is all you need – or even just a locker unit. This ensures that there is a backup in the event your home is destroyed and your safe did not make it or can’t be found. Let someone close to you – like a sibling or best friend – know where these documents are kept, just in case.
7: Think About Lamination
This is another tip for the most important documents you possess. Lamination can ensure that documents do not rip, tear, or become water damaged. Do not laminate your original copies, however, as this sometimes voids them (like your social security card). If you choose to do this, laminate the copies you keep in your storage unit.
These seven tips can help you to store your important financial documents, so they are always on hand, and well organized. Keeping multiple copies ensures you have a fall back in the event of a natural disaster or other unexpected event.