With all your traveling, where do you keep your important papers?

Q&A with a Reader


My husband and I have been following you for some time now and we will be retiring in June of this year. We are getting ready to travel the world and look forward to making memories in most of the destinations you have lived in.

Our question is where do you keep your important paper records ( investment, will, birth certificates, marriage license and month to month papers)?

We know you recommend a mail service but while traveling what do you do with important  monthly papers?  If the internet is not great at some of the locations does paperless work?  We will have a turn key home base in the USA but hope to be away from it for maybe 9 months out of the year.

Your suggestions are welcomed.

Thank you so much.

With gratitude,


Relaxing by the beach

Hi Marie,

Thanks for writing. And congratulations on your upcoming retirement! How exciting!

Marie, about 99% of our mail – important papers, financial statements, credit card billings, and so on – are all done online. We have been paperless for about 15 years.

Our brokerage firms (Fidelity and Vanguard) offer paperless statements and Fidelity offers a free check writing service that we utilize when we need to send a physical check to someone. Otherwise we PayPal money to friends and family with no fee.

In regards to our wills and marriage certificate, we have them stored with a trusty friend. Alternatively, you could put them in a bank vault or leave them with family. Birth certificates we carry with us, as sometimes we need them when we travel. If we were to lose them, we’d simply have another one sent to us from the county office in the county in which we were born. We also have a digital copy of our marriage certificate.

Traveling Mailbox (the service we use) can physically mail us anything we receive should we want a physical copy, otherwise they will scan the item and we can read it online, then ask them to shred it or forward it to us anywhere in the world.

Right now, the only monthly papers we are receiving are the ones from Social Security and Medicare, and we don’t really want all that paper sent to us, so we peruse online and then have them shredded.

Since we are on Medicare, and we have no US based health care insurance, we have no booklets, and no EOBs or paperwork sent to us. We utilize medical tourism as we travel and pay out-of-pocket.

Traveling Mailbox can be purchased by the month or by the year, as you see fit in your travel schedule. We purchase their services for the year, and then receive 2 months for free. We find that to be very convenient.

I hope you have found this information to be useful. Feel free to write if you have another question.

Wishing you the best in your travels and in your upcoming retirement.

Best Regards,


About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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