How to Do a Wallet Audit

On my way to the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference last year I encountered three young men who'd made a non-traditional career choice: mugging tired-looking, middle-aged women pulling suitcases.

They got me as I headed for the train to the airport, taking a little over $80 and other wallet contents. (Also my peace of mind.)

Afterward I did a mental inventory of what I'd lost. It wasn't easy, given that I hyperventilating on adrenaline and rage. For days I had  “Oh, crap” moments as I realized what else had been taken: debit and credit cards, bank deposit slip, loyalty cards, library card, Mensa card and a check from my brand-new business account. (I'd planned to reimburse my roommate, who'd already paid for the hotel.)

This isn't an article about avoiding street crime but rather about reducing its impact, from minor aggravation (hello, friendly folks at the Division of Motor Vehicles!) to the potential for credit-card and identity fraud. I'd like for you to learn from what I did right and especially from what I did wrong.

What's in your wallet?
Quick! Name everything in your billfold. No peeking.

Nope, I couldn't do it either. (See “Oh, crap,” above.) Among other things, I was carrying a gift card and a loyalty card to a local burger joint, my Seattle library card, and bread-outlet and teriyaki-joint punch cards. The wallet also held a card for a department store I rarely enter. Why? Inertia. I left it in there after using it once.

Why was I carrying that stuff to a business weekend in Chicago? My only excuse is that I was up to my hairline in deadline, working right up until 10 minutes before I headed for the light rail. Thus I skipped my usual pre-travel routine, i.e., paring down my wallet and putting my driver's license in a pants pocket for easy airport security access.

Right now, before you put it off for another six months, make a list of what's in your wallet. Should you meet your own trio of thieving knuckleheads, you'll know which calls you need to make.

List only the 800 number for each card, obviously, rather than the card number itself. The customer service rep can verify your identity through security questions.

Here's the hell of it: I'd actually made that list some time ago, but forgot to transfer it to the coat I wore to Chicago. (Pause for the Homer Simpson noise and a few self-inflicted forehead smacks.)

Some options for storing your oh-crap list: with a service like Wallet Garden, on a thumb drive, as a Google doc, e-mailed to yourself, or on your phone, tablet or laptop.

As noted, paranoiacs like me do paper versions, on the theory that muggers might find a smartphone or tablet awfully attractive.

Just don't keep the list in your wallet.

Set up a perimeter
Use that list immediately. Don't wait until the next morning or the next business day. Less than 15 minutes after the wallet left my possession those punks were using my credit card to buy sandwiches.

Within an hour of the mugging I'd canceled several credit and debit cards and  frozen four bank accounts (personal and business). Upon returning to Seattle I closed the bank accounts on the off-chance the thieves were organized enough to print fake checks.

Here's an example of the aggravation factor mentioned earlier: Closing those accounts meant I had to re-do automated transactions. Those included PayPal, utility bills, automated savings at an online bank, a monthly charitable contribution, and payments for health and life insurance.

Corollary aggravation: I neglected to re-establish every account promptly. It's downright irritating when a cell-phone company not only gives you the electronic stink-eye, but is justified in doing so — after all, the payment didn't clear because you forgot to give the new credit card number.

I canceled my library card, too, lest someone borrow and keep a ton of books and DVDs in my name.

Please remove anything with bank routing numbers from your wallet, bag or briefcase. If you have automatic payments, list which entities are connected to which account. After a couple of years you might forget you even have life insurance, let alone which credit card covers the monthly tariff.

What's NOT in your wallet
As noted, there was no reason to carry that department-store credit card. Lesson learned: The replacement plastic is stored in a locked cabinet.

When I'm home, my wallet holds one credit card and very little cash, and I keep my debit card in a coat pocket. While traveling I carry some cash in my wallet but most of it gets divided between a front pants pocket and a coat pocket. I also put a second credit card in another coat pocket.

My theory/fondest hope is that a thief would be satisfied with the cash and card in my wallet. If he asked me to turn out my pants pockets, he'd get only some of my money. He's less likely to have me empty all four coat pockets, too. (And one of my jackets has a fifth, hidden pocket.)

Guard your ID
As noted, my driver's license usually isn't in my wallet when I travel. Not this time, dammit. Fortunately, I was able to order a new one by mail.

I recently learned that a relative stored his Social Security card in his wallet. I suggested he take it out. He's lucky that he never got robbed, since that card is gold to an identity thief.

However, the SS number is part of his Medicare card ID. Here's a solution: Photocopy the card, then black-Sharpie-out the last four digits. Carry this in your wallet, bringing the actual card out only for medical appointments.

If you get hit by a bus, the hospital will at least know you have Medicare. The billing office can get the last four digits when you wake up.

An ordinary health insurance card is potentially damaging, too, due to the possibility of medical identify theft. (Liz Weston wrote an interesting and scary article about this for MSN Money.) If someone uses your insurance card to get emergency-room care, his medical conditions become yours. Suppose you're turned down for life insurance on the grounds that you're riddled with hepatitis?

Think that's alarmist? It isn't. Rebecca Busch, the author of “Healthcare Fraud: Auditing and Detection Guide,” notes that one victim nearly got the wrong blood during surgery because “her” records showed a pregnant meth addict's blood type. And for horrifying extra credit: After the addict gave birth and skedaddled, the state tried to take custody of the identity theft victim's kids.

Consider doctoring (so to speak) your health-care card a la the Medicare Sharpie maneuver. In my case, I arranged with the HMO to require photo identification; I don't carry the card in my billfold any longer, either.

Be careful what you carry in yours. Getting robbed is bad enough. Frantically trying to remember what you've lost just adds to the trauma. Please take a few minutes now to do a wallet audit. Make that list, too — and believe me when I say I hope you never need it.

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David
David
8 years ago

Hi Donna, I am very sorry that happened to you. How sad that these three people would target you or others. Crime is just plain evil. I’m glad that you were able to get all of the financials handled. They got away with it today, but sooner or later they will be caught. I think taking an inventory of the contents of my wallet is a great idea. I know what a pain it is to have to change billing information for a bunch of different places. It is never fun. I don’t relish going through it again on the… Read more »

Savvy Scot
Savvy Scot
8 years ago
Reply to  David

What goes around…. comes around.

Some great tips – will do this ahead of my holidays 🙂 Thanks

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  David

Thanks to you (and all others) for your kind comment. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt physically (just a little sore from the body slam). As noted in the linked post, I miss my peace of mind a lot more.
Obviously I always knew I was at risk — we all are, any time we step outside the door — but having it happen really took away my happy thoughts for a while.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Damn, sorry to hear, I hope the ugly memories are soon forgotten.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Yep, they have, thanks. But I *still* hope those three guys get bleeding piles.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Instead of a list, just empty your wallet onto your printer and print!

Make sure you have the numbers you need visible (might need to do both sides) and Sharpie/scribble out anything you don’t want showing on the copy you’ll carry with you.

robertpri
robertpri
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

We have been doing that for years. You can get about 10 cards per printed page. But not only copy them, but scan them to a jpg format.

Now email those pics to yourself, so you have them from any computer in the world.

Moneywisdomtips
Moneywisdomtips
8 years ago

Wow!this is very practical,many leaking pockets today

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Great advice!

I learned the hard way what not to carry in college. Getting new everything (including SS card) was unpleasant.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago

This is an excellent post–I usually take these precautions, but I imagine if I ever get robbed it’ll be the one time I forget. Becuase that’s the way life goes. 🙂

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

That’s how it went for me — the ONE time that I didn’t put the driver’s license in my pants pocket, I got robbed.
I hope that all three of them get bleeding piles.

Marsha
Marsha
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

… and that they get arrested when they try to use your health insurance to pay for treatment!

Evangeline
Evangeline
8 years ago

I’m not careless, but I’ve had this happen on more than one occasion. While protecting your financial life, be sure to also protect your emotional self. People are setimental and we naturally tuck away ticket stubs, old notes and irreplacable photos. Only carry exactly what you need on a daily basis.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Evangeline

Yes! Years ago I realized I was carrying photos of my mom and my daughter that I couldn’t replace, i.e., they were unique. I took them out.
These days I’d probably just step inside Walgreens and make copies.

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
8 years ago

I never take my SS card with me. When you travel, take 2-3 photocopies of your passport and a little card with your credit card company numbers and card account information (don’t put them in your wallet though!) This way if something happens, you can 1. expedite the getting an emergency passport process and 2. be able to easily communicate with your CC companies.

Doter
Doter
8 years ago

Getting robbed sucks!!

While planning for an overseas trip, I read a lot about pickpocketing. I decided it would be prudent to photocopy everything in my wallet, front and back, including passport. I didn’t get robbed, but I had peace of mind.

Also, the photocopier I use has access to email, so you can have both a printout version, and a PDF sent to your inbox. As long as you can access the internet, you’d have access to that list.

This article reminds me to photocopy my newest cards.

John @ Married (with Debt)
John @ Married (with Debt)
8 years ago

I actually resisted updating the address on my drivers license because I hate the idea of getting mugged and them having my name and address.

Solution? I make sure I carry my firearm owners card so they know my house isn’t a soft target 🙂

Jamie in CA
Jamie in CA
8 years ago

Yeah, now they know exactly where to go to steal your guns… I hope you have a good safe…

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago

I used to not update my address, but mostly due to laziness and I moved at least every year as a grad student. I went traveling for the weekend, and I took my health insurance card out of my wallet because I wouldn’t need it. I ended up in the hospital completely out of it and never remembered speaking to anyone. I paid the hospital, who was able to find me, but I did not find out about lots of other little charges that did not get rolled into that main bill untill the bill collectors called. They sent notices… Read more »

Paris
Paris
8 years ago

When I lived in neighborhoods with frequent street crime, my friends and I often carried a mugger’s twenty in our front pocket. It is $20 in small bills, with a $10 folded around the outside. Then, in the event you get mugged, you can immediately hand the thief what looks like a big wad of cash from your pocket. Since muggers are keen to keep the altercation as short as possible, the idea is that they will not demand your wallet as it looks like they have scored enough (most street crime in those neighborhoods were teenagers with few options… Read more »

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  Paris

This can totally work. My dad was once mugged in NYC. He had $1 in his wallet, convinced the mugger it was all he had and he needed $.50 for the bus. (this was many, many years ago.) The guy split the dollar with him! and never found out about the $100 in his pocket…

Krzysztof
Krzysztof
8 years ago
Reply to  Ely

I couldn’t imagine negotiating with a mugger.

Laura in ATL
Laura in ATL
8 years ago
Reply to  Krzysztof

I had a friend who once told a mugger that it was “too damn hot to be mugging innocent people!”

Anne Burner
Anne Burner
8 years ago

Good timing! I’ll be going on vacation soon – I’ll definitely look into doing all this before I go.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

Sorry this happened to you, Donna, but kudos on turning that awful experience into a way to educate others! I appreciated your mix of humour and practical advice.

Normally I’m pretty cautious, but I can spot a few gaps I need to address! Yikes…

Troy
Troy
8 years ago

Mensa Card?

I can’t figure out which is worse. Carrying a Mensa card or mentioning it as one of the items lost.

There are some things that should be found out rather than disclosed, oh smart one.

KSR
KSR
8 years ago
Reply to  Troy

Wow! When I read “Mensa card”–I felt a sense of pride for Donna. I guess you’d have to read a little of her life story to feel that sense of pride. And, Donna–I wasn’t surprised. You are one cool chick (and really, really good at puzzles too)!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  KSR

I took the Mensa test a few decades ago, nagged into it by my best friend (who belonged to the very fun Anchorage chapter). I was quite surprised that I passed, since my high-school education was spotty and I had only one year of college.
People are much more intrigued by the fact that I was once on “Jeopardy!” than by the Mensa membership.

Doter
Doter
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

You were on Jeopardy!! Amazing. I accidentally started dating someone because of Jeopardy. I love the show, and he was really good, and we ended up hanging out quite regularly… lol.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Troy / Donna – IQ tests have nothing to do with high school or college – or accomplishments. eg – here’s a 2 year old that’s the youngest Mensa member: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/47233631/ns/today-good_news/t/meet-mensas-youngest-us-member-she-joined-age/ High IQ, no knowledge. Definitely no accomplishments. Only potential – which probably goes to waste in a large percentage of the gifted population. Agreed on the uneasiness surrounding native intelligence – maybe because it’s primarily a genetic “gift” that’s unearned (or often a curse – it’s no great wonderful thing for many people) – like winning the brain lottery. And just like $ lotteries, some people blow their lucky… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Technically I think they allow you to use some achievement test results (SAT/GRE) to get in.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Oh probably true Nicole – back in my day / school, it was a standard test in elementary school. SAT’s are an American thing, they’re not requested for Canadian university admission.

Financial Advice for Young Professionals
Financial Advice for Young Professionals
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

You just inspired me to take the test!

Frugal Portland
Frugal Portland
8 years ago
Reply to  Troy

I thought that too, Troy.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Troy

It was feeling less appropriate by the minute anyway…But my point is that things like that need replacing. If I were a Toastmasters member I would have had to replace that card, too.
Some days I feel more like a Densa member.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I figured the Mensa card was mentioned as part of full disclosure. I didn’t think it was inappropriate to mention it.

Maybe ’cause I’m not intimidated by smart people.

Jeesch, of all the things to comment on!

This article was great advice that I need to follow. Thank you.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

I think there’s an uneasiness about intelligence in the U.S. It’s okay to talk/write about your increasing net worth or how fast you ran the marathon, but a mention of Mensa is somehow showing off.
That said, it was part of the “what’s in your wallet” roster. You’ll note that I also listed my teriyaki and bread-outlet cards. If my blood-donor card had been in the wallet it would have been on the list, too.

Troy
Troy
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

Sorry. Not intimidation. Maybe irrelevance. But likely just tactfulness.

There isn’t an uneasiness about intelligence. There is an uneasiness about broadcasting it.

There are lots of ways to display or educate people about your intelligence…but showing it is usually more effective than discussing it.

There are certain things that are best approached with tact. How attractive you are, how smart you are, how, um, accomplished you are in certain areas…etc. All are important in the scheme of life. But usually they are best when discovered, not told.

And the best way to determine intelligence is to couple it with accomplishments.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Densa! That made my day. Can I borrow it?

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Densa is actually a real (albeit joke) organization. Or at least it used to be. One of the Densa test questions was, “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? And for extra credit: Why?”

PawPrint
PawPrint
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Neither Mensa nor Densa, but I do have a brain donor card in my wallet. 🙂

Enjoying reading all the tips. Wish I could get my husband to quit putting his wallet in his back pocket when we travel. It always looks like such an invitation to a pickpocket.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Troy

Mentioning the Mensa card wasn’t done as a “broadcast,” but rather as part of a list of how much I’d been carrying.
If I’d written, “Look how smart I am! I belong to Mensa! I’m probably smarter than you! And most of your friends, too!” then I think you’d have a beef.

Krzysztof
Krzysztof
8 years ago

One thing I’d like to add, considering my passionate hatred of large banks, if you happen to have your account compromised, don’t go back to that big bank, find a local bank who actually cares to help you, and not just the shareholders.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago

This has actually happened to me rwice. The first time my wallet got lifted was while I was at the Smithsonian exhibit of all the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns–and believe me, seeing what Pat Nixon wore in 1969 wasn’t worth the hideous hassle of suddenly being without money or ID and 500 miles away from home. The second time was in NYC, and before I remembered to cancel a certain credit card, the thief had used it to get a nose job (!!!) in Morristown, NJ. I had the satisfaction of learning that he was arrested as he came out… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Just doin’ my job, sir. Please do take care of that wallet update, ASAP.

William Cowie
William Cowie
8 years ago

Great post!

You guys (GRS) might consider reposting this every New Year! Perfect New Year’s resolution suggestion. This way, at least once a year we do a “wallet backup.”

I’m forwarding this to everyone I know…

bethh
bethh
8 years ago

I love the nose job story! I want to know how you still got on the plane, if you were missing your driver’s license. Did you have your passport with you as well? We had a couple of wallets get stolen at work (by an outsider, which is good, but the whole thing was terrible) and I promptly took my wallet to the copier and made copies of everything in it. I keep one copy at home and have one tucked in a hidden pocket in my suitcase (along with a copy of my passport). Adding a file to my… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

I did have my passport. A few years ago I thought, “What if I lost my driver’s license while traveling? How would I prove my identity?” Ever since then I’ve carried it even when I travel to New Jersey, which is technically not a separate country. (I’m *from* New Jersey, so I get to make fun of it.) It is actually possible, though not easy, to get on a plane without photo ID. Not something I want to try. Last year when I fell down the steps while house- and dog-sitting, I went straight from the emergency room to the… Read more »

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

No it’s technically not another country – but some days it seems like it
Just wanted to say I LOVED the intro – non traditional career choice. LOL!
There is nothing wrong with disclosing that you are a member of Mensa, or with carryinbg a card from an organization that you find brings value to your life. Frankly I’m not surprised at all!

Lance @ Money Life and More
Lance @ Money Life and More
8 years ago

I never considered the thiefs using much more than my cash and credit card. I will definitely be taking care of this today. Time to start writing…

Kelley
Kelley
8 years ago

I’ve recently started carrying a smaller daily purse with my debit card, military id, cell phone, cash, sunglasses. That’s it. None of my other stuff. I feel lighter but I think I would be most upset by the loss of phone and numbers. 🙂 Thanks for an interesting article.

Jeff
Jeff
8 years ago

Some decent advice…mainly the recommendation for a wallet list…but a lot if this is overkill and paranoia (I.e. not carrying your drivers license with you when traveling).

You’re very unlikely to see ID theft as a result of getting your wallet stolen as you’ll replace/update everything and be watchful.

Sounds like you’re more likely to lose track of what’s in your pockets than have your wallet stolen.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

I *do* carry my driver’s license while traveling. I just don’t have it in my wallet — except, of course, for the one time I *did* have it there. 🙁
Identity theft may be an unlikely scenario. But if it happens, a person can spend years trying to put out credit brushfires. A little paranoia can save major hassles later on. YMMV.

Holly
Holly
8 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

This advice is definitely not overkill. Three months ago, I had accidentally left my purse behind. I was hurrying. Came back 5 minutes later to retrieve it but it was nowhere to be found. Inside that purse were all of the same things that Donna had mentioned and more. I am still not completely ‘back to normal’ in terms of replacing everything. The thief did use one of my cc’s at a gas station pump in the first hour (even though I had put a hold on it). When I was out buying a new purse I spoke w/a woman… Read more »

brian
brian
8 years ago

Lot’s of sound advice there. As a man, carrying a man’s wallet, one of my motivations to carry as little as possible is to reduce the bulk in my pocket (and reduce its effect on my posture). I long ago culled my wallet contents down to the bare minimum that gets used regularly. The rest gets kept locked up at home. On occasion I’ll re-assess what I need to carry, and make changes as necessary, for certain circumstances (medical visit, major purchase for which I want to use a specific card, etc), or especially before significant travel. Similarly, when going… Read more »

RS
RS
8 years ago

Love the tip about simply photocopying everything vs. a list. I keep copies of my passport at home and at the office. If I am travelling and need it I can call someone and ask them to fax or email it wherever I am.
I have found that you can use your phone number or other unique identifier in lieu of most membership/rewards cards these days, so no need to carry them around. This works for the library too.
Great post.

Jenn
Jenn
8 years ago

Sorry to hear about your experience. I think the most important aspect is to act immediately like you’ve stated. The idea of wallet audit, however, is such a great one. I think doing one monthly would be ideal.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

Sorry to hear about your mugging 🙁

Another way to limit the amount of stuff in your wallet is to get the Adaptu Wallet for your smart phone: https://welcome.adaptu.com/adaptu-to-go.html

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

Don’t have a smartphone. But I bet a lot of readers do. Thanks!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

@Jacq #46: Obviously some writers are less forthcoming than others. But blogs with words like “”million” or “millionaire” in the title, and writers who proclaim they will retire by 40 or that they will invest their entire salaries are revealing not just intention, but dollar figures.
Clearly there’s a “show me the money” market out there. Myself, I’d sooner reveal details of my sex life than my salary — and either one would be an overshare.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Well, we differ there. But then I’m an accountant and we tend to have an analytical and not emotional perspective on money for the most part. Do enough payroll audits and it’s all just numbers. But writing about personal finance and not talking about salary? That’s just… really odd. If someone says they have a savings rate of 70%, I want to know how they’re doing it and what their denominator is dammit. I don’t really see how your being excited about hitting 500k pageviews or whatever on your blog vs. my being excited about hitting $500k net worth is… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
8 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

“I’m just glad he’s not keeping statistics and perhaps a bar chart on his “progress”.”

LOL!

PS, congrats on having a kid that wants your relationship advice! (And I say that as a kid, not a weary parent.)

Josetann
Josetann
8 years ago

I have a regular sized wallet that has a small insert, idea is to carry this small insert around 99% of the time and leave the bulky wallet at home. This mini-wallet has my driver’s license, one debit card, one rewards card, medicare card, health care card, two membership cards (places we go to frequently), and a $50 bill (full disclaimer, I usually don’t have cash in it). If I were to get robbed, they wouldn’t get much, and I’d only need to deal with three semi-urgent calls (first call to bank, second to Medicare, third for driver’s license). Other… Read more »

Me
Me
8 years ago

The medical fraud note is the part that really scared me!

They almost gave her the wrong blood AND tried to take her children away!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Me

Yep. Although when you look at it from the state’s point of view, meth addict + newborn = potential disaster.
The almost-snafu with the blood type? Scary.
I have instructed my HMO to require photo identification each and every time “Donna Freedman” comes in, even if it’s just to get a flu shot. It’s unlikely someone will try to use my medical card to get care. I just want it to be really, REALLY unlikely that someone would succeed.

Tara
Tara
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I hadn’t thought about someone trying to obtain medical care with my card either – but my HMO already requires picture ID at the time of service every time. Now I’m glad they do!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Everything in my 3-panel wallet w/ ID thing (from memory): On left side panel: Costco card, library card, REI membership card (useless, I should take out REI as all I need is to give them phone #) On the center panel/pockets: nothing, as things fall out On the center flap: driver’s license On the right panel: personal debit card, business debit card. Inside: two $2 bills so they reproduce! + a receipt from the bike shop, might have another receipt or two. Actual contents, upon inspection: As listed above, plus– – Business cards in the middle pocket, actually– they don’t… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I could name everything in my wallet too, everything except for a coffee punch card. I even knew how much cash I had.

Points for us! (Okay, I admit it, I was waiting for someone else to say they knew what they had so I could tag along instead of saying it myself.)

Chase
Chase
8 years ago

I only carry DL, credit card, debit card, corporate credit card and usually very little cash.

Right now there is also a fortune from a fortune cookie.
It says an unexpected event will soon make your life very exciting.

I like my wallet to stay thin.

Lucille
Lucille
8 years ago

Wallet audit? How am I going to get rich now?

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Lucille

S-l-o-w-l-y. But safely.

CAC
CAC
8 years ago

Years ago, I had my purse stolen too. The thing I remember losing most was the ONLY picture of me in kindergarten. It was the cutest picture of me ever and I loved that pic…. make a copy…keep the original at home. I was a 3rd child of 4 – the one that there are no photos of. 🙁

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  CAC

While I was writing for The Chicago Tribune I was sent to interview a woman whose purse had been stolen more than 40 years previously. When her former workplace was being remodeled a workman found the purse inside a wall. Apparently someone had taken the cash and stuffed the handbag into a vent or some other opening. When she opened it and found a photograph of her father, who had been dead for a couple of decades, she began to cry. She teared up again, telling me the story. But she made us both laugh when she said that the… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago

Keep your ins card & medication list directly behind your drivers license. This is usually the only place medical people will look for your info. They will not rifle through a big wallet in an emergency.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Interesting. Thanks for that bit of info — and it would certainly keep me from wondering in which wallet pocket I put my HMO card.
(Incidentally, the theft gave me something to say when my daughter asked what I might want for Christmas. Usually I don’t have any specific wants/needs. This year I was all ready with a reply. She found a very nice multi-pocketed wallet through a cash-back shopping site. That’s my girl!)

Shima Ohana3
Shima Ohana3
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Hi Tom, Great idea and one that I do by keeping my medical info, emergency contacts and allergy info behind my license.

Donna, I love this post and have shared it with my friends on Facebook and via email. Thank you!

Tom
Tom
8 years ago

two things: On my way to the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference last year I encountered three young men who’d made a non-traditional career choice:… This made me laugh out loud, and one of the reasons why you’re among my favorite online writers 2. When my sister-in-law had her purse stolen out of her car, she used Mint as one of her go to resource for account numbers and companies to call and cancel cards. I don’t have Mint, but it seems like an added benefit of aggregating your financial data in one place that many people wouldn’t think of, especially… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Happy to amuse. 🙂
I don’t use Mint, but I bet that a lot of readers could utilize it if (heaven forbid) they lose wallets. Thanks for sharing that suggestion.

Jenny
Jenny
8 years ago

When my handbag was stolen it was the irresplaceable photos that was hardest. Now I always use as small a bag as I can, worn across the body. The wallet stays at home and just take what I need each time, with cards in the inner zipped pocket. I don’t understand why some people carry all their ID with them everywhere

Ellen (Gluten Free Diva)
Ellen (Gluten Free Diva)
8 years ago

This is one of the best tips I’ve ever read. Needless to say, I will be following your instructions this morning!!! Thank you!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

Thanks for your kind comment, Ellen. The only positive thing that came out of this is that I’m able to keep readers from undergoing the same aggravations.
That is, the readers who don’t think the advice is overkill.

Mike Hunt
Mike Hunt
8 years ago

I would have mentioned to quickly and easily photo the FRONT and BACK of each credit card, ID, INS Card, etc. so that you actually have the credit card numbers and phone numbers to call in case they steal your wallet. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t know my credit card numbers or customer service lines off hand.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

I may put off the wallet update – but this mornign I downloaded all my photos from my phone – should it ever be of interest to someone pursuing a non tradtional career path
Thanks for the reminder

Financial Advice for Young Professionals
Financial Advice for Young Professionals
8 years ago

Wow, I’ve never though about this! I think the one thing I wouldn’t wanna lose is my driver’s license! I hate going to the DMV, it’s the epitome of how inefficient our government is 🙂

Kathy
Kathy
8 years ago

Sorry about your mugging. I carry a dummy wallet that has a passport card. Not sure if the passport card is a smart idea, but I figure every wallet should have picture ID otherwise a mugger might think you’re carrying something else on your person. It also has a small amount of money. Everything else (driver’s license, credit card, a little more money) I carry in something called a Spibelt. It’s a belt with a pouch that runners use for carrying small items – been using it for running, but found it great for everyday use. I actually do use… Read more »

Lori Blatzheim
Lori Blatzheim
8 years ago

What a great wake-up call. Just think of all the people you are helping in advance.

I never would have thought of this if you hadn’t posted this.

Thank you. I am so sorry this happened to you. I promise I will dump my wallet today, take a good look at what is in it, and replace very few cards.

yourmoneytalks.com
yourmoneytalks.com
8 years ago

My wallet contains everything important to me from credit card to atm cards to discount cards. I have my money in there, my id’s so I will not really like it if i will lose my wallet. I also have a collection of different kinds of money from different countries so I would really not want to lose my wallet. It’s good that nothing serious happened to you. Do take care always!

Samuraiko
Samuraiko
8 years ago

About twenty years ago, my parents went to Italy, and my mom’s bag got swiped by one of those guys who zooms by on a Vespa or something, right off her shoulder. She immediately called me back in the States, who was able to give her the numbers for her traveler’s checks, but stuff like credit cards, etc, I couldn’t help her with. (And she carried a TON of stuff in her bag. Oy.) Amazingly, a day later, a woman called me from Rome, saying she had found my mother’s bag, with EVERYTHING in it (sans the cash and traveler’s… Read more »

John
John
8 years ago

Wow! Mensa! I didn’t think anything bad ever happened to you guys!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  John

We don’t all live in ivory towers. Some of us take the bus and the train to get to the airport.

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