Now that the holiday bustle has wound down, try to take some time to compile or update your personal financial statement and lists of important documents and other data.
This inventory can serve as a snapshot of your financial situation and help simplify your life when it comes to performing such standard financial tasks as preparing your tax return, planning your estate, calculating your net worth and applying for a loan.
What to include in your list depends on your personal situation, but here’s a list of some common items to consider:
Investments. Include stocks, Treasury bills, municipal or commercial bonds, and mutual funds. List the current market values, the purchase price, number of units held, dividends and maturity dates.
Insurance policies. Include life and medical insurance, annuitants, pension plans and coverage for your home, automobiles, and any policies held for other property.
Real estate. List the current value of all the property you own, including principal residence, vacation homes, undeveloped land, rental property or commercial buildings you may have an interest in. Indicate where the deeds and title insurance policies can be found. If you’re involved in partnerships, include the names and addresses of your partners.
Accounts. Savings, chequing and other bank accounts, as well as savings bonds and Guaranteed Investment Certificates. List the bank, the account number, balance and any yield or maturity dates.
Vehicles. Automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles, campers and motorcycles.
Other personal property. These items include valuable jewelry, gems, precious metals, antiques and collectibles.
Other assets. Include long-term royalties due to you, partnership interests, trusts and interests in a closely held business.
Short-term liabilities. Include the amounts owed on credit cards and installment loans. List the accounts, numbers and balances.
Long-term liabilities. List the amounts owed on mortgages and loans for college, cars, home improvement and other purposes.
Safe deposit box. List the bank, the number of the box and the location of the key.
Military service documents. These papers generally enable the collection of veterans’ benefits. Where are they located?
Advisors. List the names and phone numbers of your accountant, attorney, securities broker and insurance agent.
Tax returns. Indicate where you keep copies of past tax returns.
Estate planning essentials. List the location of the original of your will and any additions to it, where copies can be found and the names of your executors or trustees. Also include information about any power of attorney document.
As well as this information, consider making an inventory of such personal information as:
|Social Insurance Card number, name on the card and its location
Health Card number, name and location
|Your email address
Computer and laptop passwords
Social media accounts, user IDs and passwords
Your spouse or other members of your family may need to be able to access the companies that provide the following services, as well as the account numbers:
Cable and Internet
Home alarm (and security code)
Other critical documents may include:
Remember: Once the list is complete, store it safely. Lost or stolen information may be used for identity or financial theft. If the document is lost or stolen, take immediate steps to protect yourself by informing relevant authorities, including your bank, credit card company and insurer.
Update the list when necessary. Discuss it with your advisors and be sure your loved ones know where to find it.