by Nikki Willhite
What is a financial notebook? A financial notebook is basically a
record of "All Things Money" when it comes to your family. Your
book should have everything you, (or someone else) need to
know about your finances and other matters of daily living.
Why do you need a financial notebook? I can't stress how
valuable it may be to you someday, or to your family.
Last year I finally got mine together. It was work, and I mean a
LOT of work. At times I even got confused- and my family's
finances are relatively simple.
I had to sift through file folders (which always become clogged),
make phone calls, review information, search out and record
account numbers, web sites, passwords, pins, phone numbers,
addresses, contact information and more. I found I wasn't nearly
as organized as I thought I was. It was a huge endeavor. However,
when I was done, everything was at my fingertips, in an easy to
Now, my husband, who was rather freaked out that something might
happen to me (since I manage these records) is at peace, and I
feel good knowing that if anything happens to me, everything
is in order.
Another thing that makes me sleep better is that I know that when
I get older, and my brain isn't quite as "sharp", this notebook
will make things easier for me and I am less likely to get
confused about my finances.
Building your financial notebook requires nothing more than a
notebook, dividers, paper, and a lot of hard work. I created all
my pages on my computer first, so that I could easily update and
print them again, when necessary. I also have them stored
online - so I know the information will never be lost.
There are certain documents you will want to keep in a Fire Safe,
but you can either make copies of them, or just make a few notes
and reference where you have them stored.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE CATEGORIES YOU MAY WANT TO INCLUDE IN A
- Personal Info and Children. You will want to list your basic
information, such as your residence and phone number. Then add
you children and their contact information
- Banking Information. This will include all checking account
and saving account information, including account numbers, pins,
passwords, webpage access, etc.
-Credit, Mortgage and Credit Report. List all credit cards and
related information as above, and do the same thing for your
mortgages or Lines of Credit.
-Life Insurance. List all your policies, account numbers , as
well as who to contact if you need to make a claim.
-Retirement Money. This is where you can list pension
information, IRA,401K funds, and any other places where you
have money saved for retirement. Again, most of these investment
vehicles have websites and passwords.
-Social Security. Each year the government sends you a social
security statement. Keep that in this book, along with any other
information that you feel is important.
-Health Care. List your health care insurance, phone #'s,
coverage or places to find them, your doctors, etc.
-Disability Insurance. If you have disability insurance, place
all related info here.
-Long Term Care. If you have Long Term Care Insurance you will
have a policy. Make a note where to find it. You can also
summarize your benefits, and update it yearly if you have
-Insurance - Home. If you have an insurance claim you are going
to be upset. Again, this will make it easier.
-Home Real Estate Taxes. This makes it easy to find your tax
bill, especially if someone else has to pay it.
Some of the other information you may wish to include....
- Car info, such as insurance information and the location of your
vehicle License or pink slip.
- Utility information for your home.
- Homeowner Association information
- Vendors you like, such as plumbers, carpenters, piano tuners, etc.
-If you have a home business, you will want to include
instructions on how to close it down should something happen to
Finally, be sure to include the location of your Will, and other
legal documents relating to your death.
When I was done making my Financial Notebook, I found my file
cabinet was almost empty. Now I do not have to dread the yearly
"purging" of the cabinet.
One last thought. There is some risk in making a Financial
Notebook. If it falls into the hands of the wrong person,
someone could steal your identity, or use your credit.
You do not want to leave this notebook just lying around.
Ideally, it should be locked up. At a bare minimum it should be
in a place where it isn't noticeable, like between other notebooks
If you feel there is someone living in your home and the risk is
too great, then I would suggest you just make it on your computer
in Word, with password protection. When you are comfortable, you
can print it.
Make it a goal to make a Financial Notebook for you and your
family this year. It is a lot of work, but well worth it!