Red File Revelations

fileDo you ever think about what would happen if your house was flooded or some sort of disaster was happening and you only had a few short minutes to grab meaningful financial and personal documents? What would you grab? You definitely won’t find yourself hauling the entire filing cabinet out the door, so the best solution is to have a consolidated set of files set aside just in case you would ever find yourself in this situation. The idea is…THE RED FILE!

The concept is fairly basic. Get yourself an accordion file of some sort, preferably red (or another bright color) for easy finding, and include the following things in it:

  • List of vital information such as:
    • Contact Information (family members, financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, bankers, employers, doctors)
    • Bank, Credit Union, and credit card account information
    • Insurance policy information
    • Summary of vital information (personal, property, financial…etc)
  • Originals or photocopies of:
    • Birth and Marriage certificates/divorce decrees
    • Social security cards of all members in the household
    • Driver’s license and other wallet cards (copies of)
    • Will/Trust documents; powers of attorney
    • Most recent income tax return
    • Passports/identity documents
    • Military discharge papers
    • List of prescriptions (name on medication, dosage, pharmacy…etc)
  • You will also need:
    • Safe deposit keys/combination
    • Computer user names or passwords; CD with relevant personal, financial, and legal files
    • Some emergency cash

If an emergency ever occurs, you can grab this file and know that you have all the basic information you need for you and your family.

If you have the capability, another great option is to scan in copies of all these documents, and save them on a flash drive or upload them to a safe place online.  HAPPY FILING!

~Leslie Kohlhaas (guest blogger)

Leslie is an ISU senior intern working with Barb this semester. Other disaster tips can be found at the Dealing with Disasters webpage:

Joyce Lash

Joyce Lash

Joyce Lash is a Human Sciences Specialist in Family Finance who wants to keep you ahead of the curve on financial information.

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Murphy’s Law – If anything can go wrong, it will.

Earlier this year I replaced a dishwasher. That went well, but then three days later, I found I had water on the basement floor. In this case, Murphy’s Law meant there was need of a plumber to repair a leaky pipe. Just when you think everything is under control, something will happen.

Emergency saving is a constant work in progress.

One way to be ready for Murphy’s Law is to have an emergency savings fund. I had a friend that called it the “inevitable fund” –  you don’t know exactly how the money will be used when you start saving, but you know it is inevitable that some need will arise.

One easy way to save is to collect your change weekly for the fund.

Another way is to Pay Yourself First – just like the bills you are paying, make an automatic “bill” to pay to a savings account from your checking account. You may want to have the savings account in a different bank – and watch it grow.

Things will happen, and your emergency saving will take a hit, so don’t stop saving! There will be another Murphy’s Law in your future.

Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor

Resources are important whether you are looking to rent your first apartment, pay your bills, buy your first home or send your child to college. There are many ways to save money to reach your goals, and hopefully ISU Money Tip$ will be one of them. I enjoy traveling, needlework and am a novice gardener.

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