Now that you know five of the most important documents to keep safe, you’re going to need to know how to properly and securely store the papers. When storing important documents, you have two goals: keep the information close at hand, in case you need to access it and keep the information safe from theft, fire, or other emergencies.
Your best bet with storing important documents is a safe deposit box. Most banks or credit unions offer safe deposit boxes. Some banks will offer a discount if you’re a current customer as well. A safe deposit box is perfect for storing original documents, like birth certificates, wills, social security information, annual tax returns, and power of attorney. The key with a safe deposit box is to plan ahead. Because the box is at your bank or credit union, you can’t quickly access information, if needed, so make copies of documents with information you may need at a moment’s notice to keep at home.
For documents you keep at home, or copies of documents in your safe deposit box, get a home safe. It should be fireproof and have a secure locking mechanism. Having a safe at home helps you keep these items safe from people you don’t want accessing your personal information, as well as any emergencies, like fires or floods.
When storing your documents in a safe, you’ll want to protect them from any wear and tear, sunlight, or accidental spills. One way to do this is by using plastic page slips. Put documents in a plastic sleeve and then file in a binder or box. The binder can then go inside your safe. Each document should be in its own plastic page.
At least once a month, shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, expired credit cards, and utility payments you no longer need. Don’t ever throw out a receipt that came from a transaction you used your credit card with, as your number and/or name is likely on there and criminals can use that to their advantage.
What other tips do you have for keeping important information safe?