Being Prepared – Financial Documents
The Industrious Homemaker is a Prepared Homemaker. I did a post on creating a document for pet care earlier this week. Today the document I want you to prepare is one that lists all your monthly bill-paying data in case someone would need to step in and manage your finances.
I created a spreadsheet that listed all my banking information. Why a spreadsheet? Because I don’t “touch” any of my normal bills anymore. Almost everything is done directly through auto-withdrawals or bank checks. Someone besides me needs to know what bills are paid automatically, when, the amount, and who to contact. This is what my spreadsheet looks like (with personal information removed):
Why a Spreadsheet
In the “old days” I just had all of this written on a sheet of paper in a file in my locked filed cabinet. Two people knew where the file and keys were. But today with everything online, it made sense to create a spreadsheet with all the websites and login information all in one place. With the information in this spreadsheet, the links work and the login information is easily copied and used.
Safety of Information
How should I store this information? Where?
This is a tricky answer. Putting all your financial information in one place with all your passcodes could be devastating if in the wrong hands. Even on your own computer, if your computer gets into the wrong hands, it could be financially devastating. So, we protect the file
Setting Up Password Protect
Since I created this in Excel, I can password protect the file.
Not everyone knows how to do this, so I’ll give very detailed information as if you are not Excel savvy. No disrespect intended.
When saving, choose “Save As” instead of “Save.”
Next you want to choose “More Options”
Now click on “Tools,” then “General Options”
At this point, you will be be given 3 options under file sharing: Password to open Password to modify, and Read-only Recommended. Choose a password and put it in Password to Open. I would also check Read-only Recommended. Choosing Password to Modify is your choice, it’s redundant and unnecessary.
Choosing the Password
You want a password that is NOT easy for someone to hack, but at the same time, not something that is so difficult that the person you’ve created this for cannot get it open. The person who has access to everything of mine has a special password. This gets that person into specific files that in turn get them into other files or accounts. In this crazy world, you need layers of protection.
Once I have a document set up the way I want, the password protects it, and having Read-Only set up means you can’t delete something by mistake. See the box below for the opening question. If you want to change something – like an amount or date, you can still do that. Just answer “no.” You’re answering “no” because you don’t want to open it as read-only. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s right. The person who you’ve designated (or you when you just want the information) can open it, use the information just fine without granting permission to change the data. That’s what you want.
Many financial, email and even Facebook accounts now require 2-factor identification. This may be trickier. If they can use your computer, then that may not be necessary. Otherwise, it requires getting a code that is sent to your phone or alternate email account. Whoever you choose should have access to that second-factor identification. Just keep that in mind.
Where Should I Keep It?
That all depends on your situation. A separate flash drive or re-writable CD in a place where the person you’ve designated knows where to find it is probably the safest. It needs to be someplace that you have access to so you can keep it up. I’ve known people who have two sets – one at home and one at a family member’s house. Then in case of a fire, they still have access to the file. You decide and make sure the person you’ve designated knows where to look.
While Covid-19 has brought these things to mind, a Prepared Homemaker has done these things for years and years. They may be a little different in these electronic days, but it’s just different. One file at a time, one preparedness item at a time, we can get our homemaking files in order.
Keep yourself safe. Use this time to pull together as a family. Do things together. Makes meals together. Do some home projects together (even a young child can hold a flashlight). Pull out some real games or puzzles from the back of the closet and play some games. Play some “get to know you” games (if you could go anywhere in the world for an all-expense trip, where would you go? If you could love anywhere in the world, where would you live? Why?) Watch some comedy on TV – because laughing is good for the mind and body.
Until next time…
#beingprepared #Thepreparedhomemaker #financialpreparedness #covid-19 #coronavirus