Assembling Your Financial First Aid Kit

Assembling Your Financial First Aid Kit

First aid kit with money

We’ve talked to our Clients many times about the importance of emergency preparedness. Preparing for an emergency can take the form of kits with food, water, and supplies, plans for what you and your family will do in an emergency, or the often overlooked financial first aid kit. Having a financial first aid kit helps to ensure that the tangible pieces of your financial life are safe and easily accessible at any moment.

The first consideration for your financial first aid kit is where to keep your valuable documents. We find that safes that are waterproof, fire-resistant, and easy-to-carry make the best vessel for storing your financial documents. A variety of well-reviewed safes are available on sites like Amazon and Staples including the SentrySafe Waterproof Fire-Resistant Chest or the SentrySafe Fire-Safe Waterproof File Safe. For an added layer of protection, you may consider purchasing a fire-resistant, fiberglass envelope pouch, like this one, which adds additional heat resistance in the case of a fire.

With your container in place, you can now focus your attention on assembling all of your important documents. Below is a comprehensive list of items to consider gathering to ensure your financial first aid kit is well-stocked for any emergency. While you collect these items, it’s also a good idea to give them a quick review to ensure the documents are up-to-date and accurate. Furthermore, it’s helpful to make a habit of revisiting these important documents on a regular schedule. You can use specific yearly events like tax preparation time, the start or end of daylight savings, your birthday, or the start of a new year to trigger your reminder to review the information. Finally, it’s recommended that you keep a second copy of this kit with someone you trust that is not in close proximity to your geographic location. This way, you can rest assured knowing that the information can be accessed elsewhere in the event that your copy is unavailable in an emergency.

We hope you find these tips empowering! Having a well-stocked financial first aid kit can help you be confident that your financial life is safe in the event of any challenges and complexity that may come your way. If you’d like our assistance in helping you collect any of the information below, please do not hesitate to contact us. Happy Prepping!

  • Identification Documents
    • Driver’s license, Passport, and other Photo ID (for yourself and your children)
    • Birth Certificates and Adoption Papers
    • Marriage/Divorce License
    • Social Security Cards
    • Military ID or Military Discharge Records
  • Housing Payments
    • Lease or Rental Agreement
    • Mortgage, Real Estate Deeds, and HELOC Information
  • Financial Obligations
    • Utility Bills
    • Vehicle Loan Payments and Registration Documents
    • Photo Copy of Credit Card Numbers and Phone Numbers to Report Lost Cards
    • Student Loan Agreements
    • Alimony/Child Support Payments
    • Retirement Account and Investment Account Custodians and Numbers
  • Insurance Policies
    • Property, Homeowners or Renters Insurance Documents
    • Photos or Video of Property Inventory
    • Copies of Auto Insurance, Life Insurance, and Health Insurance Policies
    • Appraisals of Personal Property
  • Sources of Income
    • Recent Pay Stubs
    • Government Benefits Information (including Social Security and Veterans Benefits)
  • Tax Statements
    • Previous Year’s Tax Returns (it is recommended to keep tax returns for seven years)
    • Property Tax Statements
    • Personal Property Tax
  • Estate Planning
    • Copy of Living Will
    • Copy of Trust(s)
    • Copy of All Medial/Durable Power of Attorney
    • List of Account Beneficiaries with Contact Information
  • Medical Information
    • Contact Information for Physicians and Medical Specialists
    • Copies of Medicare or Medicaid Cards
    • Immunization Records
    • List of Medications
    • List of Current Prescriptions
    • Disability Documentation
  • Emergency Points of Contact
    • Name, Phone, and Address Information for the Following Points of Contact
      • Financial Advisors
      • Health Professionals
      • Service Providers
      • Lawyers
      • Insurance Agents
      • Mortgage Representative
      • Work Contacts
      • Extended Family
  • Passwords to Financial Accounts
    • List of Up-to-Date Usernames and Passwords for Important Accounts
  • Small Amount of Cash
    • In the event that ATMs and credit cards are not operational, it’s smart to have a small amount of cash available