Jonathan Pond


The Nitty-Gritty on Safe Deposit Boxes

Documents that are either impossible or very difficult to replace if lost and seldom-used valuable possessions are the two categories of items that should be stored in a safe deposit box.

  • Documents that may be needed immediately in the event of the incapacity or death of the box holder should probably not be stored in the safe-deposit box, however. Therefore, it is usually imperative that the original copies of estate planning papers, including the will, health care directive, durable power of attorney, as well as the letter of instruction and/or any wishes regarding the funeral be kept outside of the box (e.g., at your lawyer’s office or in a secure home location). The location of these documents should be well known to family members and/or close friends.
  • A decision needs to be made as to who should be given access to the safe-deposit box. You can have sole authority over box access or can establish access with others, such as your spouse, other family members, or friends. Care must be taken, however, in making these decisions since any person who is able to access the box can remove items from it.
  • If valuables are stored in a safe-deposit box, you should obtain a rider on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to cover any losses; banks rarely provide coverage for any losses that arise. Finally, it is always wise to keep a list of the contents of the safe-deposit box handy, not only in the event of a loss, but also to avoid a fruitless visit to the financial institution in search of some item that is not stored in the box.
  • You may want to consider a secure home safe in lieu of or to supplement a bank safe-deposit box. A home safe is more convenient and therefore will make it easier for you to secure jewelry and other valuables that might otherwise be susceptible to loss. However, family members will have ready access to the contents in the case of incapacity or death, which may not be the case with a bank safe-deposit box.
  • Home safes should be substantial and bolted to the floor or wall. Further, a home safe should probably be larger than a bank safe-deposit box in order to facilitate the storage of family valuables. There are two primary considerations when selecting a safe – fire resistance and burglary resistance. Fire resistant safes are designed to withstand fires without damaging the contents, no matter how sensitive the contents may be. Burglar resistant safes are intended to keep valuables and currency protected in the event of a burglary.

Smart Money Tips

  • Get rich slowly. Getting rich quickly is a one-in-a-million long shot. Judging from the plethora of seminars and infomercials that promise quick riches, a lot of people prefer immediate results which, we all know, are rarely achieved. On the other hand, if you work hard, do what’s needed to advance in your career, save regularly, invest those savings wisely, and periodically address other important personal financial matters, getting rich slowly is a sure bet. If you can be happy with what you’ve got now, you’ll enjoy more abundance later in life.
  • If you have a summer job, there’s no rule that you have to spend all of your earnings. This tip is directed to students who are fortunate enough to have a summer job. (If you’re a parent, please forward this to any children who have a summer job.) While the temptation to spend the fruits of your labor may be strong, you should set some money aside to help pay your expenses during the school year. Your parents will appreciate it and, more importantly, you’ll start to get into the habit of living beneath your means. That may sound like something old people like your parents need to do, and that’s precisely my point. By paying some of your own school expenses, you can help them live beneath their means so you won’t have to support them in their old age. By the way, isn’t it fun seeing how much money is taken out of your paycheck for taxes and Social Security (usually disguised on your paycheck as “FICA”)? Get used to it.


Food for Thought

Technology has no respect for tradition.
      -Peter C. Lee

Money Can Be Funny

Where I was brought up we never talked about money because there was never enough to furnish a topic of conversation.
     -Mark Twain

Word of the Week

chrematophobia (chre-ma-to-FO–bia) noun – fear of money or wealth.

Origin: From Greek chrimata meaning money + phobia

It’s safe to assume that the readers of this weekly commentary are most certainly not chrematophobics.