By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Watching the effects of Hurricane Harvey unfold, I’ve been wondering if the people being rescued had a “one-pager” they could easily grab on their way out the door.
A “one-pager” may be the best answer to the question, if you could only take one thing before running out of your burning home (or flooding home), what would it be?
The one-pager is a one-page document that lists where your money is and where your debts are. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, other investment accounts, current loans and credit cards, etc. Because when you have to run out of your house with just the clothes on your back, one of the first things you’ll need to do is piece your financial life back together.
A one-pager gives you a head start on that process. It doesn’t have to have much information, just the name of the company associated with each account. These days you can track down almost everything on the Internet, so you can easily find bank or other company phone numbers to start getting help by phone or online.
Shouldn’t you put more on the one-pager to make the task easier, like account numbers or account balances or customer service phone numbers? No! First, the less information you make yourself put on the document, the better the chance that you will actually create it in the first place or update it in the future. Second, in an emergency, that paper could fall in the wrong hands if you lose it. You don’t want to make things easier for someone else who may find your one-pager. Finally, you’ll probably never need that one-pager, so don’t overdo the effort.
Keep it simple. But give yourself a starting place to get your life back in order if disaster strikes. Keep your one-pager near a front door or near your car keys, somewhere that it is likely you’ll see it if you need to leave in a hurry.
Disasters are often unpredictable, even more so than Hurricane Harvey. But having a one-pager in hand can make you feel that all is not lost.