In today’s day and age, many of us have traded in our little black books for little black Blackberries—but, regardless, these troves of information should contain more than the phone numbers of old high school crushes and college flings. The last time you needed your passport number or vaccination history, did you have it on hand? Are your bank passwords taped to your computer, in full view of hackers-to-be? We at LearnVest have re-envisioned the little black book, and we invite you to take the plunge: You should have a command center that contains every piece of necessary information you might need. We’ll help you set it up.
Your Financial Life … In One Place
All of your financial info should be stored somewhere safe, secure, and easy for you—and only you—to get to. We’re fans of Wallet (for Mac and iPhone), which is basically a password-protected database that has fields where you can enter your account name, password, and any relevant info. Alternately, check out the similar Clipperz or Passpack. If you’re attached to that old school black Moleskine notebook, just make sure to include all of your pertinent info and hide the book in a safe, secure place where you’ll be able to find it again. Know where to find the following:
- Bank account numbers.
- Login names, passwords, and bookmarked web addresses for all financial accounts.
- Account numbers for your 401(k) or IRA.
- Contact information for your company's human resources department or retirement account administrator.
- Your Social Security number.
- Birth certificate.
- Home and auto insurance policy numbers and contact info.
- Credit card numbers (stored separately from your cards).
- A copy of your driver's license and passport.
- Frequent flyer numbers.
Create Your Own Medical Records
Instead of struggling to remember all of your important health details every time you see a doctor, keep a good record in one place so you can print it out before your next appointment. One tool we like for this comes straight from the Surgeon General, called My Family Health Portrait. Alternatively, you can print out this free PDF to create a wallet card with key health info. No matter how you do it, make sure you have a record of:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers for all of your doctors.
- Any medications you’re on (including over-the-counter), health conditions, and allergies.
- Dates of past medical tests and procedures, and the results.
- Vaccination history. If you’re unsure, track that information down.
- Health insurance policy number and contact information.
Back It Up
Of course, your little black book can and should contain some more, ahem, traditional information. As much as the world seems to revolve around Facebook nowadays, don’t be that person who invites all 896 friends to re-share their numbers because she accidentally dunked her phone in the bathtub. Make sure you back up your numbers on a SIM card, if your phone has one. If you’re on the Verizon network, which generally doesn’t use SIM cards, try the free Verizon Backup Assistant.
Hang Tight (To Your Info)
If you’re storing your info online, bookmark the sites and resources you’ve used, lest you make a detailed record and then forget the website and password for the place you stored it. If you choose to do it all by hand, do not keep slips of paper or notes written on the backs of envelopes. Keep everything in the same notebook or folder, and store that little black book somewhere safe, preferably in a locked drawer.