In this digital age, we should remember that hard copy documents are still very important. A few months ago I went through a situation that reminded me why it’s so important to keep hard copy records. It made me think a lot of how so many people have gotten lax in this matter. What happened is that my laptop got stolen!
Can you imagine, if I had all my information stored there? Never mind that possibility, it got me thinking that 5 years ago I had a computer crash and lost information. Add to that the ever changing technology that made floppies, zip discs and so many other ways of storing information obsolete. Did you remember to update that information onto the newest type of information storage before you couldn’t use the old method anymore?
Having hard copy information can be important in an IRS audit (you can fix a tax return for 3 years. The IRS or state can go back 7, and if they find an error they can go back 10 years!) It can also be helpful to track stock purchase dates for your tax returns, fixing errors on a credit report, and also reclaiming escrow accounts for rental units. These are just some of the reasons you want hard copy information.
Another reason to have hard copies are for those that are left behind after someone passes. Now with the truncation of credit card information on bills etc, you will want a hard copy of your credit account information.
Storing this information also needs to be considered – whether you can afford a lock box at a bank, a safe at home, or just a fire/flood protected box that you can obtain inexpensively. It is important to keep these things in a safe place.
For those of you that store and use most of your information online, there are companies that will store online data for you for a price as well. Before using one of those sites make sure you fully check them out to make sure your data is safe. I myself still like my old fashioned ways. Just food for thought.
How do you go about securely storing information? Both digital and hard copies?
(This is a guest post written by ACCC’s newest Outreach Education Coordinator, Sue Katz. She will be joining us as a blogger at TalkingCentsBlog in the near future. Thanks, Sue.)