Article by memoresa
Do you have a good digital filing system? What sounds like a trivial question is a real life-changer when you need it. A dent in the rental car, a last-minute visit to the doctor or an email urgently requesting documents – no problem in your own living room, many kilometres away such circumstances cause your pulse to quicken. This also becomes clear to Jörg Schädlich, one of the managing directors of the Leipzig-based start-up memoresa, in various situations in his everyday life. For several years, he has regularly commuted between Berlin, Leipzig and Tenerife. “Information must be available regardless of location – at any time,” says Jörg Schädlich. On his travels, he has noticed that even in today’s digital age, we are sometimes less digital than we might think. And our documents even more so. Together with Steffen Stundzig, he therefore founded the start-up memoresa, an overview platform for managing data and a solution for data storage in today’s world.
memoresa are currently the first ones in Germany to offer digital estate management. On the one hand, the aim is to help users gather all important documents for the time after their death. But they also want to help people during their lifetime to bring structure to their affairs. Most people don’t feel like dealing with their documents, contracts and deeds. The pile grows and grows and eventually ends up in a drawer. memoresa wants to change that – which is why the data platform is designed to be as self-explanatory and open as possible.
The social impact applies to our modern lifestyle with digital solutions for analogue issues. One of the great benefits of modernisation is the reduction of any barriers. As we can see from Jörg’s example, constant commuting between cities and countries has long been a reality for many people and can be integrated into everyday life. It is the same with our folders and notes. Distances become surmountable and local ties can be dissolved. With portals like memoresa, documents can be downloaded and sent at any time and any place. This makes dealing with one’s own documents equivalent to going on excursions away from home. However, it is important to keep a good overview. The older you get, the more contracts you have and the more deadlines you have to observe.
The portal helps users find structure and order in their documents. Jörg has collected the most important hacks that you can find a smart way to deal with your documents that is self-determined and fun. Here is Jörg’s checklist with the ten most important points:
1. Digitise everything
If you decide to store your most important documents online, be consistent about it. Then you can be sure after three years that the document you are looking for is also available digitally. And don’t make excuses for yourself by saying that everything can also be stored in your emails: Anyone who has ever searched for a document in their emails knows that this is not a sensible way to store it! A better alternative is our memoresa portal where you can get an unlimited storage space.
2. Find a structure
Establish an order for storing documents in a meaningful way. If you systematically create folders, you minimise the risk of discovering a bunch of incomprehensible folders after a few months, which you can no longer keep track of. And sifting through documents costs time and good humour. With a good structure, as you could discover at the memoresa portal, you can find everything with one click and have your data in view! And if your documents don’t fit into a fixed folder structure, because, for example, the motor vehicle liability insurance belongs in the Insurance folder and also in the Car folder, then simply stick keywords to the individual documents. Or if you are an electricity provider changer who likes to choose a new electricity provider every year, include the year for which you have chosen the respective provider in the title of the folder. This way you can quickly find all documents for a keyword and have a good overview. memoresa supports users in finding their own structure and offers agile assistance for their respective needs and life situations.
3. Appropriate titles
Just as important as the sensible storage is the appropriate designation of the documents. It is self-explanatory: You may be able to assign “Document 1” and “abcd” shortly after creating the document, but after a few days you will certainly no longer know what is behind this title. As already mentioned above, using the example of an electricity provider: “Electricity contract XY company from 2019”, if you have several residences, you can also assign the document to the respective household.
4. Keep documents up to date
Some documents, such as birth certificates, are never updated. You put them in the folder once and can safely forget about them for the time being. At best, you know where they are. Other documents, such as tenancy agreements or health insurance policies, are constantly updated and corrected by the providers when the existing conditions change. The respective update is then added to the folder, and you have all the documents for the respective contract at your fingertips.
5. Central storage
A fixed data platform like memoresa creates clarity. It’s like consistently deciding to store your affairs digitally. Whether it’s health insurance abroad, current telephone contracts back home or initial ideas for a new project – if you decide on a storage medium, you know directly where to find documents even months or years later. And again we use the example of electricity providers: Many energy providers now offer their own platform for storing contract data and invoices. But if you need to find out in 2020 what was going on in 2016, you first have to identify the supplier from that year – with a memoresa account, this is not necessary.
6. Email box does not apply
If you think to yourself now – my mailing box fits best – most documents are already stored there anyway, sooner or later you won’t be able to find things anymore or you will have difficulties with the storage space. What if you want to update the documents or save them under a different name? With a data platform like memoresa, designed for this purpose, you decide how and where documents are stored. You can also personalise the folder structure to suit your needs. And what if you want to change your e-mail address? Then you’ll have to look through each mail individually again.
7. Secure data
Just as it is memoresa’s first priority, the security of your uploaded documents should also be your own. After all, we are talking about your most important records. With all the simplicity of digital data storage, check first how the records are secured. Sensitive data is very popular with hackers. Access to bank accounts, insurance policies, contracts and passwords for accounts should therefore be protected from hacker attacks and kept in a safe place. However, when storing documents in the clouds of popular providers, data security is not always guaranteed, as neither the database nor the document storage is individually encrypted. Ideally, therefore, choose a provider that has dual authenticity as a login, like the security system of memoresa is based on two authorisations. As with online banking, you log in via two separate but linked systems.
8. Document costs
If your documents are ongoing contracts, document the monthly or annual costs. memoresa but also other data platform providers or even a simple Excel list have applications that add up all running costs and give you a good overview of what you spend and on what. In addition to saving the individual documents, you can also consider whether running costs still make sense for you.
9. Archive old files
After we have already discussed how you can best keep your documents up to date, we would also like to point out how you can ideally archive them. In Germany for example, the country of bureaucracy, some documents have to be kept for up to ten years – even if you think they are obsolete. For this purpose and for folders of completed projects, for example, there is a general archive folder. But be careful – here, too, put everything in such a way that you can still find it when you need it.
10. Directly from the download folder
Make sure you regularly empty your download folder or store the relevant documents from it. A document is quickly downloaded, then consistently take a further step and deposit it directly in the relevant folder. Take a look in your download folder, most files have meaningful names like “232223565_uvz_2019.pdf” or similar. That doesn’t really help you to create order. Then you first need to open all the files with the crypto names and that is not the aim.
11. Remember deadlines
Last but not least – In our best-case scenario -having a memoresa account – you digitise your file and can confidently put it in the reminder box at the bottom until you need it again and have it at hand with the help of your overview – small reminders are built in. Depending on the platform, you can attach a reminder message to the documents, which is sent to you when a deadline expires, for example. Otherwise, you can also enter a reminder in your digital calendar. This can save you money – switching from a trial to a paid subscription usually happens without a reminder, and an expired passport or ID card can also cost you a lot if you only find out at the security checkpoint and have to book a new flight.