If, like many people, you have your important paperwork scattered helter skelter everywhere (think birth certifiate and IRS tax returns), you may want to consider getting financially organized before it’s absolutely imperative you put your hands on it.
While just the thought of getting organized may sound exhausting, it helps to start small. One way is to decide whether you’re ready to enter the 21st century, or go old school and pay for either a bank security box or get a locked fireproof box to keep in your closet.
To that point, you should know that even before Fidelity Investments officially introduced it a year ago, Barron’s magazine gave the free, online storage service FidSafe, five stars for being what it called “the first cloud-based safe deposit box we’ve seen that’s secure enough to organize everything from financial statements, insurance policies, and real estate records to a will, IRA beneficiaries, and even passwords.”
Bonus? You don’t even have to be a Fidelity customer to use it. However, your approach to getting things in order should be the same no matter how you store things:
• Start by identifying the documents you need to keep, which can be a liberating experience by itself.
• Separate items by category. While you might not need all 10 of the documents some experts suggest, adding things like “medical history” and “legal documents” to more obvious financial topics could be a good starting point.
• Tell a trusted family member or friend where everything is. “Having an effective system in place cannot exist in a vacuum,” notes Andrew Peterson, FidSafe’s vice president and product manager.
From a security standpoint, FidSafe is heads and shoulders above the rest because of its end-to-end encryption — meaning, your documents are scrambled both in transit, while uploading them, and on the site’s servers — as well as its log-in protections.
In addition, you also get up to 5GB of storage, which is enough to handle a heck of a lot of material (including video of home upgrades and possessions, should you want to memorialize these for insurance purposes). And you can even add trusted contacts like family and advisors to share specific documents with.
That said, if you’re not interested in being able to access your information anywhere via a web browser or iOS app, there’s always that fireproof box in your closet or a trip to the bank.
But then, unlike FidSafe, the box won’t automatically transfer your documents to a designee of your choice after your death so that loved ones are spared the trauma that FidSafe’s developer has been quoted saying he hoped to prevent: “People shared stories like, ‘My dad died, and my mom doesn’t know where anything is,’ and vice versa.”
-A article by cornerstone copyright Makemeidol.