Have you thought about what sorts of financial documents you should have in your emergency kit? I admit, I know there should be some financial documents there, but I really hadn’t put too much thought into what that all entailed. My plan was basically to grab everything in my firebox – birth certificates, passports, copies of my mortgage paperwork and some receipts for some large purchases.
Turns out I’m on the right track, but boy am I missing things! Ready.gov has some amazing checklists and fillable forms to help you get started, and I have already printed them out.
Some of the key things I missed?
- Bank account information. What if I need to go into the bank and withdraw cash and don’t have my ATM card? I would have no idea of my account information.
- Insurance policies. Again, yes, it’s all online, but it’s going to be so much easier to have everything on hand and have proof that yes, I have this insurance.
- Emergency contact information. In this day and age, how many phone numbers do you have memorized anymore?
- Medical information. I’m lucky to not have too many health issues, but everything should be documented and easily retrieved.
- Other contact information. I rarely remember the name of my insurance agent. I should probably have that available in case of an emergency. If there’s a fire and I can’t go to work, I will have to call my boss. I don’t know her office number off the top of my head, and I’m sure in a time of great anxiety, I would have no chance of even remembering the main office number.
- Tax statements. If I have to apply for aid, I’m going to need to have this information available. Clearly, it’s information no one ever wants to need, but it’s certainly something good to have.
One huge thing I realized I missed was vaccination information, both for myself and my pets. It’s honestly likely more important for my pets. If I’m trying to evacuate with my cats, I may need to prove that they are fully vaccinated and not carrying any risky diseases. Many pets will wear rabies tags – my cats don’t wear collars since they don’t go outside. So I should make sure that I have these tags and the accompanying records easily accessible.
It sounds like a lot of paperwork, but it’s really only going to end up being one large file folder, and something that I can likely store in my fire box for easy (though heavy) transport in case of an emergency.
Additionally, much of this information can be scanned and kept online in one easy to locate place. Again, it’s something I hope to never need, but better safe than sorry.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.