Friday, 26 February 2016

Important Documents and How to Store Them

This is my first article here and I’d like to start with something important but overlooked.

By Roshni McCartney 

Have you ever heard the saying “If you only have one backup, you have none”? It’s true. If you only have one copy/original of your important documents, you’re SOL if you lose them. Having multiple backups is an absolute must.
This is prompted by my husband, who on a recent trip to New York City, lost his passport. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a copy of the passport number, which made filling paperwork out quite difficult. That’s why it’s important to have backups of everything, just in case.
So here’s how to do it. This should take an hour tops and it’s invaluable if you ever need to prove who you are and can’t get to your documents right away.
Step 1: Find the cloud service of your choosing. This can be Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox or whatever. I suggest something that you can access from any device. If you don’t have an account, make one. Make sure the password is hard to guess. One tip is to shift letters and numbers one space to the left or right. For example, “password” would become “olaaqies” or “qsddeptf”.
Step 2: Create a folder labelled “Important Documents.
Step 3: Scan or photograph your documents. Make sure that everything is legible and you have gotten all the borders. If it’s a document that doesn’t have a physical copy, memorize the number. For example, in Canada we no longer get cards with our social insurance numbers. Instead we get a piece of paper with the number printed on it.
Step 4: Upload your photos and scans to the folder you created in Step 2. Title each photo with the name of the document.
Step 5: Print out copies of all documents. Keep them somewhere safe, like in a safety deposit box or buried in the most boring book you own. Make sure it is somewhere that only you can figure out. You don’t want these documents getting into anyone else’s hands, but you want them accessible if you need them.
Step 6: Keep the originals in a safe place, separate from the copies.
Step 7: Pat yourself on the back. You adulted!
Here are some examples of documents you might want a copy of:
  • Social Insurance Card
  • Passport
  • Drivers License
  • Personal Identification Card
  • Citizenship Card
  • Insurance Information
  • Personal Health Care Card
  • Property Insurance Paperwork
  • Home/Auto Title
  • Credit/Bank Card Numbers
  • Birth Certificate
As for my husband? He got his passport replaced eventually but it cost $400 and a lot of time. And we almost missed our flight home.
Good luck, and happy adulting!