Preparing for the Unexpected: Keep Track of Your Important Papers

Preparing for a disaster of any sort-whether it's an earthquake, theft, or otherwise-is most certainly difficult, if not impossible. But one thing you can do to help prepare for an emergency is to make sure your personal documents and files are protected and in order. By ensuring your important information is easily accessible and safely stored, you can save valuable time and energy that will likely be needed for other important tasks in times of crisis.

Personal finance software programs not only help you take control of your finances, they can also help you keep the essential details of your financial, legal and personal documents organized and in one place. Microsoft Money 2002, for example, is one software program that can help you track and store personal accounts and information with its Important Records Organizer.

"Keeping your important documents together in a safe, secure place is a vital part of investing and financial planning," said MSN Money expert Jon Markman. "By preparing for unforeseen emergencies now, you can ensure that your financial documents are protected and accessible at any time."

In addition to key financial details, you can use the software to store important information about birth certificates, passports, wills and other important documents. By consolidating such information, you can assist your loved ones in finding what they need if an emergency occurs. You should print a summary of the information in the Important Records Organizer and keep it in a safe place that they can easily access as well.

Money also helps you track and store your home inventory, which should include everything you want your home or rental insurer to replace in the event of a theft, fire, or other disaster.

First, gather information to inventory items such as warranties, receipts and manufacturer information. Next, record the make, model and serial numbers of each item. Then these details should be put into the software program where they are easily accessible.

Consolidating this information in one place offers not only convenience in an emergency situation, but also peace of mind, knowing your important information is in a secure, easy-to-access location. No matter how you organize your records or where you store them, be prepared for the future.

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