How to create a financial survival plan

Put it in writing

Put together a file, book or binder containing all of your household’s essential financial information. If that sounds too daunting, there are many templates available to guide you through the process.

After Hurricane Katrina, Katie Schwartz realized that her own records weren’t in order, so she created the Financial Overview Template ( to help people organize documents, account numbers, policy numbers, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and more.

Her template helps people gather rental agreements or mortgage documents, vehicle titles, storage unit information, professional and business licenses, employment benefits, loan agreements, bank and credit card statements, insurance policies, investment information, retirement account documents and more in one convenient location.

Schwartz recommends updating the file each time any detail of your financial affairs changes, printing a hard copy and keeping a password-protected electronic copy on a flash drive that you can take with you.

If you work with an accountant, financial planner or lawyer, ask if their company has a template you can use.