Imagine having to leave your home quickly because of a fire or a natural disaster. Besides the kids, what would you grab? Or what if you were to have an accident and find yourself dependent on others to take care of your financial and personal affairs? Or what if you died? Would your loved ones be able to handle your estate easily or would it be a nightmare for them?
For these and many other reasons and situations, it is important to have key financial information organized and accessible. Having that information in a notebook or binder is one format many people have found beneficial. It only takes one disaster to make you realize how important it is to gather all your family’s financial records in one place.
Would someone else know where your checking and savings accounts are held, what credit cards you hold, what bills need to be paid, who your financial advisor is, where your safe-deposit box is, where your investments are held, who your beneficiaries are, or whether you have life, disability or long-term care insurance? If tragedy struck, would your spouse be left in the dark with no clue about the family’s finances?
A financial notebook does not have to be fancy. It can be as simple as a three-ring notebook. Some things you might include in a financial notebook:
- Account information: account numbers and contact information for credit union, bank, and brokerage accounts
- Estate planning and legal documents: wills, trusts, advance directives, power of attorney, letters of instruction, funeral instructions
- Family information: family members and contact information and employment records
- Financial documents: net-worth statement, spending plans, loans, copies of tax returns
- Insurance and health records: copies of all insurance policies, including auto, homeowners or renters, health, life, disability, and long-term care, and any policies obtained through your current employer
- Inventories: household items, collectables with approximate values, safe-deposit box or safe contents with location of keys or codes
- Personal records: financial goals, location of important documents, copies of certificates, birth, adoption, citizenship, marriage, divorce, death certificates
- Property records: vehicles, real estate, investments
- Retirement planning documents: pension benefit statements, Social Security statements, annuities, individual retirement account statements
Keep your financial notebook in a safe place, such as a fireproof box at home, a place where you can gain access to it quickly in an emergency.
The information included in this document is for general, informational purposes only. It does not contain any investment advice and does not address any individual facts and circumstances. As such, it cannot be relied on as providing any investment advice. If you would like investment advice regarding your specific facts and circumstances, please contact a qualified financial advisor.
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The historical and current information as to rules, laws, guidelines or benefits contained in this document is a summary of information obtained from or prepared by other sources. It has not been independently verified, but was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. HBKS® Wealth Advisors does not guarantee the accuracy of this information and does not assume liability for any errors in information obtained from or prepared by these other sources.
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