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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

You Don't Think It Will Happen to You ...

You don't think it will happen to you but sometimes it does. The good news is that everyone got out of the burning building safely. The bad news is that the fire destroyed the house and all of my son's possessions. The good news is that we have insurance. The bad news ... we don't have an inventory of all the items that my son had in the house.

Blogging is about sharing our experiences and what we know -- sometimes learned the hard way -- with others. Here's my advice after this latest life experience.

First and foremost, double-check that your smoke detectors work. And, remind your family members living away from your household to check their smoke detectors too.

Second, be sure that your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy is up-to-date and covers all family members, including those that may be away at college.

Next, do an inventory of your household goods. I know that this summer when I helped my son move that he had enough "stuff" to fill up a U-Haul moving truck. I can visualize us rearranging items to make room in the truck so that we would only have to do one trip from the storage area to house. But, what we have currently listed on the insurance form doesn't add-up to a truck load!

You can create a household inventory in a variety of ways. You can download the Household and Personal Inventory Book from University of Illinois Extension. While this publication is dated, it contains a very detailed list of items that can help you record a complete list of your personal property.

If you're inclined to be overwhelmed by the thought of completing this task, consider taking photos or a video of each room in your house. At least then if something happens to your possessions you'll have a picture to remind you of what items you owned.

Finally, store your inventory somewhere away from your home. Consider storing this inventory in a safe deposit box or at a family member's or friend's home.

Be smart!  Learn from my experiences rather than waiting until it happens to you or someone in your family. Create your household inventory soon.

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