Last week, the unthinkable happened: one of my jump drives at work failed. The small red light which signals “life” in the nerve center that holds my most important documents went dead on arrival.
This was a drive with hundreds of articles I’d accumulated over a period of years. Fortunately, IT advised me (just a few weeks prior) to back up my data in case of this very contingency.
We tend to think of technology as better – or indestructible – when in fact it may have less integrity than more traditional storage methods. The backup jump drive I chose was large enough (eight gigabytes) to house all of my assorted data previously stored on multiple drives. This “move” enabled me to consolidate my files on one single medium (that’s now color coded with my office!). To ward off future catastrophes, I immediately purchased another thumb drive (as a backup device) and a smaller one for my data at home.
Backup is part of a larger issue known as planning for “contingencies” in our lives. You’ve heard the saying “We plan to fail if we fail to plan.” In what types of activity could you engage to give you a “leg up” on the crystal ball of your life?
- Have you crafted your last will and testament, durable power of attorney, living will, and health care proxy (and are the latter two on file with your primary care physician?).
- Have you organized your filing system so you can easily find important documents?
- Have you photographed and catalogued items in your home in case of fire? Have you updated the contents of your safety deposit box?
- Have you made a list of your investments and their associated account numbers? Do your impacted loved ones have a copy of this list?
- Do you have adequate life insurance/health coverage/disability plan/long term care insurance?
- Have you designated a guardian for your children in case of emergency?
- Have you met with your benefits representative to ensure you’re taking full advantage of all the perks that are available?
- Do you have a financial counselor who periodically reviews your portfolio?
One of the best sources I’ve found (in terms of financial planning) is from Suze Orman.; e.g., her book Women and Money provides a month by month plan for organizing your finances and a checklist for planning your financial future. Although you don’t want to err on the side of being obsessed with what may come, you do want to give yourself peace of mind by crafting a plan for meeting life head on.
Help yourself “brace for impact” by taking a few simple steps to ensure your future safety.