When there is an emergency or a catastrophe happens, your first concern is the immediate safety of your family and pets. Your second concern, once you are sure that your family and pets are safe, always concerns finance. Financial security is necessary to ensure that you and your family can continue your lives in the same, or nearly the same, fashion that you were living prior to the event, so securing your financial assets is one of the first precautions to address. This is a quick list of the things that you should think about now so that you are ready if the unexpected happens.
Most Things are Online
Many, if not most after the covid pandemic, do most of their banking online. As our country becomes more invested in technology, the less we use physical financial tools. If you are still working, you probably have your paycheck deposited via direct deposit and you probably use your credit card, debit card, or checks to access that money. You might have a 401K that, as far as you are concerned, is really just numbers on a statement that you receive. You never really go into a bank to look at your 401K.
Since everything is digital, how do you secure that? The answers are pretty straightforward, but unique to online assets.
Steps to Secure your Financial Assets
Securing your financial accounts isn't difficult, but you first need to understand what the risks are so that you can protect against them. Once of the greatest risks is just forgetting where an asset is and how to access it.
I tried an experiment recently after going through hurricane Ian. I asked ten people that I knew if they had an IRA or a 401K. Eight of them said they did. Of those eight, only one could tell me what company held their 401K and said they could log into the account. When I asked that one person if something happened to him, did his spouse or other loved ones know where the 401K was, he looked at me with a blank stare and I could see the cogs turning in his head.
The greatest risk to your financial assets is that you lose them, either because you forget where they are or how to access them or something happens to you and no one else knows that the assets exist, where they are, or how to get to them.
Knowing this, here is what you need to do::
- Make a list of all your assets. Along with the obvious ones like stocks or banking accounts, don't forget the not so obvious ones like Insurance Policies and titles to homes or vehicles. It's easy to forget where some of these are
- Ensure that you know how to access the assets. That means that you know the company, website, account number, username, and password to access the assets.
- store this information in a place where you can get to it in and a crisis and if something happens to you, the information is accessible to those who you want it accessible.
Herein lies the rub. How do you store critically important information (such as access usernames and passwords) so that it is completely safe and secure and in such a way that others chosen by you can access it in the future if the time is right, but can't access it now? This was the exact question that kept my partner and I up at night until we finally desised and designed the IronClad Family Vault system.
I don't want to make this blog an advertisement, but there really is no better way to protect and secure your financial assets than to put their information into one of our vaults.
If you decide not to use one of our vaults, then at the very least you should ensure that your documents are stored in a fireproof and waterproof case in a place in your home where you could grab them quickly if you needed to evacuate and let someone trusted know where they are in case anything happens to you. Your financial assets aren't just there for you, they are there for your family and loved ones as well. It would be a shame if you spend our life saving to ensure your family was taken care of if anything happened to you and then when the time came, they received nothing.