There are a few important documents that are imperative to know where they are at all times and ensure they are protected from theft and quickly available in case of emergency. Since we may not use them every day, these documents can be difficult to find when needed most so here are some tips on what documents are most important and how to store them.
A safe deposit box is the securest way to store valuables. For documents you need to keep at home, a fireproof and waterproof safe is a great way to ensure important documents and valuables are locked away for safe storage from theft as well as protected in case of unforeseen disaster. Here are four important documents to be sure to protect:
- Birth Certificate. A birth certificate is required to enroll in school or the military, get a passport or a marriage license, and, in some cases, a driver’s license. The original should be kept in a safe deposit box at your local bank. This goes for any children’s birth certificates as well. Make copies and keep them in a fireproof safe.
- Social Security Cards. You won’t often need your actual Social Security card, but you must provide your Social Security number in many situations and, at times, the physical card is necessary. This is a piece of information that can be detrimental in the wrong hands so don’t walk around with it in your wallet or on your person. Keep it in a safe deposit box or a fireproof safe.
- Tax Returns. The IRS has suggestions about how long you should keep your annual tax returns. In most cases, you should hang on to them for three years. Keeping the actual paper documents in a fireproof safe is fine. It’s also a good idea to make electronic backups, but be sure to use two-factor authentication to protect them from hackers.
- Travel-related documents. Items such as your passport and visa should be kept at home when you’re not traveling. Before your trip, make copies (in color and black-and-white) and keep the copies in your hotel room safe when you travel. Keep the original documents in a waterproof document wallet and carry them with you at all times when overseas.
Hopefully these tips help you protect the documents that you need to make your most important financial decisions. It’s equally important to get your financial life organized and safe, so if I can help in any way, let’s connect. Call me at (804) 665-1589, e-mail me at email@example.com, or access my Outlook Calendar here to request a time to meet in person or virtually. Protecting your most important documents is a vital part of a smart financial strategy.