When you hear your neighbors, colleagues and the media talk about natural disasters or pandemics, your first thought likely is not about securing your finances. But there are certain steps you can take now to help prepare. You’ll want to make sure you have the following in order before an emergency strikes. These guidelines can apply to both your personal and business records.
It’s a good idea to prepare a "grab and go" kit in the event of a disaster. A small plastic file box with a handle usually works well. Among the financial records that should be placed in the kit are:
- Checking and savings account numbers with bank/credit union names
- A list of savings and investments
- A credit card inventory (type of cards and account numbers)
- A household or business property inventory (pictures and/or list)
- Copies of insurance policies (name of company, contact information, type of policy and policy number)
- Copies of wills and trust documents
- Property titles (e.g., house and car)
- Copies of certificates (birth, marriage, divorce, death, and adoption)
- Children's records (e.g., immunizations)
- Educational records
- Emergency contacts
- Copy of social security card
In addition to your grab-and-go kit, you’ll want to keep copies of these items in a safe deposit box in case something happens to your residence. Store the originals in a fireproof safe at your home. Pick a location for your safe that will not flood or be doused by water in case of fire fighting efforts.
Electronic Record Storage
Consider storing financial documents electronically so you don't have to carry around a lot of paper. One way to do this is to scan important original financial documents and save the files on a CD or USB flash drive, which is placed in the portable kit.
You can also turn to online banking to access important information if you don’t have access to your hard-copy files. Pinnacle’s online banking gives you a current snapshot of your financial position, including deposits, loans, credit cards and investments both at Pinnacle and at other financial institutions.
You can also set up online bill pay to automatically pay bills electronically. In addition, the contact information of all the billing companies are stored online so you can access their addresses and phone numbers. Sign up for eStatements so you don’t have to worry about bank statements being mailed to your home or business.