Utilize Electronic Recordkeeping
Talk to your bank about paperless bank statements so that you will always have access to them. Instead of receiving them in the mail, they can be sent to your email or you can access your account online with a username and password.
Important documents you receive regarding finances and taxes, such as W-2s and tax returns, can be scanned to your computer and stored on an external hard drive or CD for safekeeping. You should keep these external storage devices in secure locations with important documents like your medical directives and powers of attorney, wills and trusts, birth and marriage certificates.
You also might consider using an online service to back up your computer’s hard drive. These services will store all of the information on your computer on their servers. That way, all of your files are backed up and can be easily recovered if your computer is lost or damaged.
Whether or not you choose to utilize paperless recordkeeping, you should keep physical copies of documents which are difficult to replace in at least one secure location. Secure locations include household safes, fireproof boxes, or safe deposit boxes. You should also consider storing a second set of those documents in a secure location as well.
Keep Evidence of Valuable Belongings
In order to ensure that you can claim your valuable lost property if it is lost or damaged, you should make lists of the objects in each room of your house and be sure to note their value. You should also take digital photos or videos of the belongings in your home. Just be sure to store copies of those files in a secure place. Business owners should create lists to record your possessions by category, such as office furniture and fixtures, information systems, motor vehicles, equipment, etc. Again, be sure to store the pictures, videos, or lists you make in a secure location so that they cannot be stolen or damaged by water and/or fire.
Have a Plan
It is important to have a way to receive information about extreme weather conditions before and after they occur. NOAA Weather Radios send out warnings and post-messages in the event of earthquakes, avalanches, oil spills, floods, and more. Be sure to keep working batteries in yours at all times. Also, be ready to take action if a disaster were to hit; have an emergency plan that you go over annually. Communicate this to your family, employees, or customers, and practice it if necessary.
Westchester NY accountant Paul Herman of Herman & Company CPA’s is here for all your financial needs. Please contact us if you have questions, and to receive your free personal finance consultation!
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