If you have to go to a Bank or Government office to update your personal details or provide some KYC documents, what do you do – just pick up the required set of documents (original and their copies) + passport size photos + pen etc and drive to the Bank or do you have to rummage every cupboard searching for the passport sized photos or one of the key document.
Do you have copies of your important documents readily available or do you stop on the way to get a copy. Do you have to return with the work unfinished as you did not carry all the required documents or make multiple trips to complete the requirements.
Do these scenarios look familiar? The point I am trying to make is that a large chunk of people either do not consider this important or they do not know where to start and how to organise their personal information.
Having key information handy at all times can save you a lot of time and hassle where you are pressed for time. Also it can go a long way in ensuring that you are prepared for any emergency.
In this post we will look at easy ways to organise your personal and financial information. It is not as difficult as it is often made to sound. All it requires is your will and intent to do it once you understand the importance of the same.
Have Scanned Copies of All Key Documents
With the digital revolution and a smart phone in every hand it is very easy to quickly scan and store digital copies of all your important documents. Many apps are available in the App Store which do a neat job of creating a PDF of the document in seconds. And if you use Google Drive, it has an inbuilt feature to scan documents.
Once you have scanned all your important documents (including the ones for your spouse, kids and parents), rename them so that searching for the right document is easier later. Now arrange them neatly in separate folders for PAN Cards, Aadhar Cards, Voter ID, Passport, Driving Licence, Property/Rental agreements or Sale Deeds, Medical Reports, Salary Slips, Form 16, Car and Bike Registration documents and so on.
You can save these to a eLocker or Digital Locker of your choice. You can also store them on to a cloud storage solution like Google Drive, One Drive or Dropbox.
Handling Physical Documents
Similar to the soft copies, create separate files and folders for various types of documents. Create one file for all the Bills, another one for all Insurance related documents, notices and premium receipts. Have another file for you property related documents like Sale/Rent agreement, property tax receipts etc. Similarly create separate folders to file documents for Bank accounts, investments, car and bike, AMC agreements etc.
Luckily in the last few years all bank statements and statements from mutual funds etc have all converted to digital so it has reduced much of the paper that you need to handle these days. Nevertheless there still will be a few things that each one of us will surely have which is still in paper format and storing them in identifiable folders will allow us to find them quickly without having to go thru the entire stack of paper in the cupboard.
Also the advantage of having separate folders is that when you are about to flick a document into the cupboard, it takes very less effort to place it into the right folder rather than throwing it loosely into the cupboard or drawer. This habit saves you a lot of time when you might have to invest and entire afternoon sorting and organising the documents.
Create a Emergency Bag and let every family member be aware of it. Anyone from the family should be able to open it and it should have all your important information in one place. You can have the contact numbers of important people like CA, Doctor, Tax Consultant, Later, Toll free number of Health Insurance company, Car insurance, Banks where you have accounts and a few close friends and relatives whom you could call anytime in case of an emergency.
Also place a copy of all the key documents like Health Insurance Cards, Insurance policies, PAN and Aadhar card copies etc into the bag for easy access during an emergency. Review the contents of the bag every six months and refresh as required.
Tag Along Bag
Create a tag along bag which you should carry when heading out to any bank or government office. Place a few copies of passport size photos, copies of PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Pen, Glue stick, Stapler etc so that you do not have to hunt for these things and can get your work done efficiently.
Please start getting organised if you are not doing it already. This small steps go a long way and will ensure that you and your family are prepared for any emergencies.
Get organised – Reduce Stress !