Getting Much More Organized

I used to think that I was pretty organized. My wife and I both value keeping our house neat and our files and records are no exception. January is the time of year that we generally deep-dive into making sure that everything is properly updated.

Related: Annual Round-Up Day

This year has shaken me from that confidence. After having my heart attack the day after Christmas, I’ve been thinking about how difficult it would be for my wife and son to actually find passwords, account information, computer files, and important records. While my wife and I generally work together on a lot of these things, still much is only in my – or her – head.

A big part of the challenge is the amount of information we manage these days. We do business or have investments with such a wide variety of companies. I keep everything organized in a few computer files, that we both review now and then, but I’m not sure I’ve ever explained where in my Dropbox the files are kept. Or, showed anyone where I keep the tens of thousands of family pictures.

This month as I start getting organized for tax preparation, I’m going to need to go the extra step of putting together an emergency info binder to ensure a ‘smooth transfer of operations’ in the event that I’m not able to manage things some day. Right now I have a simple 3 page document that I keep updated, but it would take a lot of work to decipher our lives from that simple document. There are good examples of emergency binders that I have found online and Jane Bryant Quinn has a full chapter on getting one organized in her ‘Making The Most Of Your Money’ book.

Open to hearing any suggestions you might have, too. How do you keep all of your life info organized?

Image Credit: Pixabay

10 thoughts on “Getting Much More Organized

  1. I love using the KeePass software. Besides storing user names and passwords, you can store other important details in an encrypted file database.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have also begun loading information into everplans which my investment professional got me access. You have information in one location and your personal representative can access it when you pass and get what they need.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I keep a single Excel file with hyper-links to other important files, all maintained on a thumb drive. Within that Excel file is all bank accounts, investments, and rental real estate business information, tax information, as well as Legacy information. When the file is opened, the main menu page automatically displays with our net worth information (essentially a balance sheet of all assets and debts), there are hyper-link buttons, that can be clicked for all bank accounts, investment accounts, loans, accounts, etc, but the most important button is a Legacy Notebook hyper-link. Within that Legacy Notebook linked file, I have a personal “final” letter should something happen to me to my wife and kids with next steps, and complete spread sheet for all personal accounts and business accounts (ex. bank accounts, credit card accounts, all expense/billing accounts, assets and estimated values, life insurance info, financial diagrams of cash flows, etc.). The file also goes into some explanation of typical monthly activities, and what to do in the event of my early death. There is even a link to my rental property business spreadsheets. This file has everything imaginable related to my rental property business, complete with any graphics imaginable (…that Computer Science degree gone wild!)

    This primary thumb drive is backed up to two other “back up” thumb drives. One backup thumb drive is kept in our safety deposit box at our local bank along with Wills, etc.. The other backup thumb drive is kept in a safe with “backup copies” of Wills, etc, and one thumb drive is my working version. Backups are made periodically throughout the month to the “safe” kept thumb drive from the “working” version, and every few months to the “bank” kept thumb drive. My family knows, that all they need to do is get to that thumb drive and and pop it into their computer, and they’ll have everything at their finger tips. They also know where to find the back ups in the event the main thumb drive gets damaged. We keep paper backups of important stuff too, but this Excel file(s) is the master copy of everything. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s been an evolution of my own creation, but I couldn’t live without it! It has a road map to everything for them for when I’m gone, including how to continue investing without me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like this approach. I have a Word File that I update and print out (copy in both safes), but it’s not detailed enough. A thumb drive is a good approach and easy to explain. I’m not sure my wife or son would know where to find things or how to access most of our files in my Dropbox – even though my son is a clever computer science major!


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