Identification, Documents, and Saving Things



            Notwithstanding the internet and computers, we live in a world of paper.  Having the right paper or document, in the right place and at the right time will make the business of life flow more easily.


Advice on Identification, Documents, and Saving Things

1.  At all times carry with you a valid driver’s license, two credit cards, a check guarantee card, one hundred dollars, and the business card of your personal physician.  If you possess medical insurance, your insurance card should also be on your person.

2.  Get and keep a valid passport.  Make sure to renew it regularly so that it remains valid.

3.  Get and keep in a safe place your birth certificate.

4.  Keep a file, on a year to year basis, of all cancelled checks and receipts for major purchases (purchases over $50.00).  Keep this file for ten years in a safe place.

5.  Have a separate file for product warranty statements and save all product warranty statements.

6.  Create a legal file.  In this file keep all legal documents (e.g., divorce decrees, deeds, wills, etc.).

7.  If you are over the age of thirty write a will and make sure its existence is known to at least two good friends.  If your total worth (assets) exceeds a few thousand dollars make sure to consult an attorney and create a revocable living trust.

8.  Create a medical file.  In this file place insurance forms and insurance information, medical information that you’ve been told or given by your physician, and any other medical data that you may need.

9.  Save all photographs of yourself and your significant others (family, friends, children, etc.) and all photographs of prior residences.  In general, don’t throw out photographs.  The only exception to this is photographs of ex-wives and husbands.  Throw all these out except for one or two to be placed in a sealed envelope.

10.  Don’t sign any document you don’t understand.  Attempt to read every document you sign.  Don’t be pushed into quickly signing anything.  Delay signing, take the document home, or to a lawyer, and think about it.

11.  Seek an outside opinion before signing any document that significantly affects your property, money, stocks, or possessions.

12.  Don’t sign any document for home repairs or construction that places a lien against your home for failure to pay.

  13.  Save for each of your children (assuming you’re going to have children) a copy of the daily newspaper issued on their day of birth and a copy of a weekly news magazine issued on the week of their birth.  Also save several bottles of wine dated in the year of their birth (make sure the wine is of the type that improves with age).

14.  Keep a special file on each of your children.  In this file save birth records, medical data (immunizations, etc.), school records (especially the name and address of the schools attended), and other important documents.

15.  Throw away any book that you have not read unless you have an immediate plan to read it.  Save only books that you have actually read or are used for reference purposes.

16.  If you ever lose great deal of weight (enough to change your clothing size) throw away all the clothing in your old size.  If you gain a large amount of weight, however, save all your old clothing and store it in the closet you regularly use.

17.  Before throwing away clothes, furniture, etc., check to see if the items can be donated to some charity.

18.  In a safe place save old phone and address books.

19.  In a special file, save all letters written to you, especially letters about business.

20.   Make sure all oral promises are in writing before signing a contract.

21.   Purchase a scanner and scan all your important documents, and then store them in your computer in files that will make document location easy.  Periodically, at least once every six months, make a backup file, on a disk, thumb drive, or other out-of-computer storage device, of your important documents.  In addition to computer storage, keep a hard copy of your critical documents.

22.    Create, and regularly update, a single electronic document that contains the following information: Your name, telephone number, address, email address, driver license number, passport number, telephone number, fax number, a list of all of your credit card numbers, a list of the contact information on your close relatives, three best friends, and your personal physician, your health and home insurance policy numbers, a list of your current medications (with dosage) and each of your active medical diagnoses, your car insurance information, and, in some coded format, your various passwords.  Regarding your passwords, it is absolutely imperative that they be stored in some coded manner, such that, if someone got access to your document, they could not use the passwords.