Lost and found has been one of the big themes in my life lately. After finding bonds I’d forgotten about for years, I realized that I’d misplaced some very sentimental and irreplaceable valuables and spent an entire day searching.
It was a very bad day until about 6 p.m. when I finally located the items. Relieved, I photographed them for insurance purposes, then readied them for their own safe deposit box.
As part of organizing yourself for the New Year, don’t forget to inventory (then update your homeowners or renters insurance policy!) and secure your valuables. If you’d prefer to avoid the ongoing cost of a safe deposit box, a personal safe may be a good investment. The safes sold at your local hardware store can be easily compromised, so beware, but if you visit your local locksmith, you may find that you can purchase a used safe rather reasonably.
On a recent visit, I spied giant, 300-pound used safes starting as low as $150. The most expensive was around $400. The locksmith has generally opened these safes (due to lost keys or combinations) but can rekey or recode them for you. I also saw some nice wall safes and even locking “bank desks” — safes which incorporate one or more file drawers for storage of important papers.
I prefer to scan and save my important documents on CDs and flash drives, which fit nicely into a safe or even a tiny safety deposit box. It’s a great idea to update these as part of an annual routine.
If you’ve misplaced some of your important documents, even bonds, all may not truly be lost. CNN Money recently posted some information about retrieving important documents. Here are the highlights:
* Stocks and Corporate Bond Certificates – Most of these records are kept at one of three major transfer agents: ComputerShare (781-575-2000), Wells Fargo Investments (866-243-0931) or American Stock Transfer & Trust (800-937-5449). You may pay 2-3% of the stock or bond’s value to retrieve it.
* Car Titles – These can replaced in just a few weeks for about $20-$30. Fill out an Application for Duplicate Title at your local DMV.
* Tax Returns – For $39, you can get copies of full tax returns at irs.gov.
Found Money in Lost Papers [CNN Money]
Image Credit: Rpongsaj
Updated April 13, 2016 and originally published January 4, 2008.