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The perfect spot for your Vital File or Important File in your home filing system will be chaos-free, secure and relatively easy to access. I know this advise is vague, but there’s no one perfect spot that will work for everyone.

The perfect storage container for your Vital File and Important File is totally your choice. Security, portability, and protection from theft, fire, and water should all be considered in your choice of filing containers.

Fireproof File Boxes: Portable fireproof file boxes will keep Vital Documents in one fire safe location. Some of these boxes tout water protection as well. Fireproof file boxes tend to be on the heavy side but are a good choice should you have to grab and go. This would also mean a burglar could grab and go as well. But most home thieves are looking for an easier snatch. Keeping your fireproof file box out of your master bedroom or home office will deter theft even more.

Expanding File Folder + Home Safe: A well-organized expanding file folder in a home safe is another option to consider. Bolted down safes do provide a good degree of theft and fire protection. A major disadvantage might be the time it takes to open the safe if you should need to leave in a hurry.

Bank Safe Deposit Box: A bank safe deposit box could also be considered, but not for all of your vital documents. Experts advise not to keep your wills in a safe deposit box. Safe deposit boxes do come with a few risks. They are not FDIC insured and while they do provide some protection against the elements, they are not guaranteed to hold up in a major disaster. If you need to evacuate, it is likely you will need to leave your vital records behind. And as one Katrina victim pointed out on a public forum, the contents of a hurricane flooded safe deposit box could be a moldy, waterlogged mess.

Cloud Storage: While there are benefits to using cloud storage, serious considerations should be taken. Paul Stephens, an identity theft expert and director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse advised against storing records on online storage sites or in e-mail messages. And after reading a Wired article, Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore, I am even more convinced that cloud storage of vital documents and important records is very risky. Pauls’ statement in the New York Times article was a breath of fresh air. There’s so much pressure to put our stuff in the cloud. The article goes on to state cloud sites could shut down or get hacked. Statistics seem to prove that. In the article, Paul recommends keeping paper records in a locked filing cabinet or safety deposit box. It also suggested electronic data on an encrypted external hard drive as a second viable option. I use both a locked filing cabinet and external hard drive for my important records. My hard drive of choice is the IoSafe Fireproof and Waterproof External Hard Drive*.

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when creating the Vital File or Important File in your home filing system. Your storage container and location are two of the most essential. Take your time and work through your concerns. Start by collecting your vital documents and important records. You can keep your Important Records in a dedicated bankers box and your Vital Documents in an expanding file folder until you decide the additional tools you need to keep your essential papers safe.

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