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Prepare Your Financial "Go-Bag"
An emergency or natural disaster happens without warning. With advance preparation, you can prevent it from turning into a true disaster. Key among those preparations (yet probably the most frequently overlooked) is organizing your financial first-aid kit — your financial "go-bag."
Your "go bag" can be organized in various ways. A three-ring binder or a series of sealable plastic bags are two easy ways. In any case, it should be stored in a secure, watertight container that's easy to carry.
This list will help you get started.
Keep cash for living expenses for a week for your entire family. Include plenty of smaller denominations. Keep in mind that $20 bills are more widely accepted than larger denominations.
Make front and back copies of the items below. If applicable, include contact information such as your tax preparer, attorney, and a trusted friend who lives outside your local area.
- Account information for checking,savings and brokerage accounts
- Mortgage information, deed to your home, and car titles
- Copies of prior year’s tax return and/or contact information for preparer. If you do not have a safe place for storage, keep two recent paystubs for employment verification purposes
- Insurance: Auto, home, life, health, and longterm care
- Estate information: Copies (or locations of copies) of the will, durable power of attorney, advanced medical directives, living will, trust documents, and the name of executor
A comprehensive list of usernames and passwords
For the sake of security, consider uploading this to a cloud-based server as well as writing it on paper. Make sure that someone you trust knows it exists and how to access it.
Also, be creative. Instead of writing down your password, write down the question your password answers. For example, if your password is "Davis1996," write down, "What is the name of the best man at my wedding coupled with the year I was married?"
Copies of essential documents
Essential documents may include your driver license, credit card information, and emergency contacts. For children, include copies of birth certificates or school identification cards. A family photo is a good resource, too.
Enroll in Direct Deposit
What you have access to will depend on the severity of the disaster. Some disasters may delay U.S. Postal Service and leave you waiting days to receive benefits or other recurring checks. With Direct Deposit, your money is safe in your CEFCU savings account no matter what happens to interrupt mail service.
Update your records and contact information
Update your records and information with CEFCU and other financial institutions. This includes your email address and cell phone number. Make sure your documents live and breathe with the ebbs and flows of time.
Enroll in online access
Sign up for eBranch (our online access system) as an additional way of transacting with us. eBranch and Mobile app must be set up ahead of time and verified regularly.
Secure your "go-bag"
Make sure to take the necessary steps to secure your information. Whether stored in electronic format, or that good old three-ring binder mentioned earlier, it is priceless to you and your family. The information contained is also a treasure trove for someone looking to do financial harm.
Creating a financial "go-bag" may take a few days. However, compared to the many months it would take to identify, gather, and restore all the lost data, it's a very small investment with a huge pay-off.