Tips for safeguarding your personal assets
It’s only natural for people to be concerned about the safety of their financial assets. Here are a few valuable tips from TrustedID:
- Monitor your credit history regularly. You are entitled to receive a free credit report from each of the big three credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once per year, which you can order from the official credit reporting Web site. If you see any loans or addresses you don’t recognize, contact the lender and credit bureau immediately for more information.
- Take steps to protect your identity. In tough economic times, many experts predict a rise in identity theft – already the fastest growing crime in America, impacting approximately 15 million Americans every year. Avoid giving out your Social Security Number if it’s not absolutely necessary. Shred mail that contains account information or new credit card offers before throwing it in the garbage, and avoid carrying bills, your Social Security Card, or other personal information with you, especially if you are traveling.
- Make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage. Check your homeowner’s, renter’s, automobile, personal property and life insurance policies to make sure that the amounts are adequate. Have valuable items appraised and update policies if and when there have been any changes.
- Always have sufficient cash reserves on hand. If necessary, reduce spending in unnecessary areas to reduce your reliance on credit and ease the burden on your investment assets.
- Have a valid will and estate plan in place and make sure that you have the proper amount of witnesses for the state in which you live, and only one current version. AARP.org offers a free online worksheet on will preparation.
- Once you’ve completed your will, make sure to have a lawyer or notary authorize it for you. Don’t keep your will in your safe deposit box because, in many states, safe deposits are sealed upon the owner’s death, and a court order may be required to open it.