Page 16 - FSJ June 2012

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F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U N E 2 0 1 2
household effects as we move from
post to post and live in different places.
We never knowwhen we might have to
deal with a fire, a pipe break in our
housing unit or robbery.
One great fear among many For-
eign Service personnel is the complete
loss of household effects at sea or else-
where. Fortunately, we can mitigate
that risk through appropriate insur-
ance coverage, so long as we have ac-
ceptable documentation of what is
My firm recommends that clients
maintain an inventory of belongings in
a safe location outside the home, pos-
sibly a safe deposit box or with a
trusted friend or family member. Op-
tions for taking inventory range from
Polaroid pictures and videos of be-
longings to handwritten lists.
Now, however, software specifically
designed for this task makes the pro-
cess of listing and recording the prop-
erty somewhat easier and far more ac-
cessible worldwide. Putting these lists
in a secure area on the Web makes
them available anywhere, anytime.
Some insurance companies offer in-
ventory software to their customers.
The companies generally link policy-
holders to free software available to
anyone such as Know Your Stuff and
StuffSafe. Other household inventory
services such as DocuHome, Lock-
boxer, and Quicken Home Inventory
Manager charge a fee, which can be
monthly or yearly depending on the
firm and service provided.
What these firms provide is a secure
place to create an inventory of house-
hold belongings, photos of them and
documents such as receipts, which can
be used to substantiate their value. The
process can become time-consuming
when inputting model and serial num-
bers, as well as purchase information.
However, such details may prove in-
valuable and worth the effort in the
long run. Some software can accom-
modate belongings in more than one
property, an ideal arrangement for
those on unaccompanied tours.
Peace of mind for yourself and oth-
ers comes from having the appropriate
documents, keeping them up to date,
putting them in a secure place, and let-
ting someone know where they are.
Explore the different options in terms
of cost, security and access to deter-
mine the best fit for your situation.
But no matter what arrangement
works out best for you, getting started is
the most important step to take.
Stephen H. Thompson, a retired For-
eign Service officer and longtime AFSA
member, is an associate planner with
KeatsConnelly, a cross-border financial
planning and wealth management firm.
The views expressed herein are the au-
thor’s own.
- H
Don’t forget to make
your passwords
available to others
in the event of your
incapacity or death.
A time of service…a time of need
Help for Seniors May
Be Just a Phone Call Away—
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care & Respite Care
Prescription Drug Copayments
Transportation to Medical Appointments
Durable Medical Equipment
For more information, please contact the
1716 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20036-2902
Phone: (202) 887-8170 Fax: (202) 872-9320
E-Mail: Web Site:
The Senior Living Foundation may be
able to help you or someone you know.
Some examples of assistance are: