Years ago, I began telling everyone to open the mail by the garbage pail” (of course, now it’s the recycling bin). That stops most of the unnecessary mail from getting in – but what about what’s already there? And – what if something happens to you and your family needs to find important papers? What if an emergency occurs and you need to leave your home? Could you put your hands on things you need at a moment’s notice? One of my guests this past January was Linda Fostek, who wrote a handy little book appropriately called “Shit Happens” (available at Uniquely Natalie). In it, she provides the reader with tools to create a personal survival plan when life throws you a curve as well as to be ahead of the curve in organizing important personal papers for any emergency. Linda’s great advice is to set up an ICE file, an “in case of emergency file”, physically in a file cabinet, electronically on your computer, and in a secure vault storage location, making all necessary parties aware of this. Creating this ICE file will force you to weed out what’s needed and what’s not in your sea of papers. It will also make life easier for you as well as on those you love if something should happen to you. It should include banking and credit card information, investment accounts, legal and insurance documents, important advisers contact information, stocks and bonds information, passport numbers, copies of drivers licenses, wills, funeral wishes, necessary computer passwords, and any other pertinent information needed in one secure location.
What an eye opener! As responsible adults we should all do this, but how many of us do? It may sound like a lot of work and for many, it will be. But it’s a small price to pay for the knowledge that we have taken control of our lives and conquered a big challenge in our homes. So, on the next day that you wish it was spring and it’s not, start this important project. Thank you, Linda, for reminding us we’re grown-ups and showing us how to become more responsible.