posted on November 17th 2015 in Austin CFP Team Posts & Your Family with 0 Comments /

Helping clients protect, preserve and grow their financial wealth is what I do every day. However, I recently realized that as a wealth manager, I’m able to add value in an area outside of the financial realm by helping people preserve and protect their true wealth: their memories.

Think about it. All you really are is your memories, what you did and who you did it with. It’s important to take photos and videos to preserve those memories, and many people do, given the widespread use of smartphones. Photos are being amassed at an unheard of rate — but most people don’t have a system that documents them and ensures they stand the test of time as a family legacy.

I have such a system, one that’s simple and inexpensive, and I’m happy to share it with you. First, let’s look at some of the backup options that exist today:

  • If you have an iPhone, you may feel secure that Apple backs up all your photos. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Once you reach 1,000 photos — which is not hard to do — your earliest photos will be deleted. Plus, you don’t have the photos that are backed up; Apple does.
  • Maybe you backup your photos to the cloud. In my experience, cloud backups often don’t work, and I especially don’t trust automatic backups, since you never know if a glitch has occurred.
  • How about saving photos to DVDs? Sounds smart until you realize two things: DVDs will degrade after about 20 years and DVD technology likely will be obsolete in the not too distant future.

My system isn’t dependent on today’s storage technology. It does one thing very well: putting true wealth in your family members’ hands. Here it is:

  • On a regular basis, save all your photos and videos to iPhoto (or another photo database that can be copied). It will organize them by date and create albums you can easily search using facial recognition.
  • Transfer everything to an external drive (drive A). I use Thunderbolt, which has 20 times more transfer speed than a USB drive.
  • Make a copy of the file on a second external drive (drive B).
  • Every six months, buy a new external drive and repeat the transfer process, copying it onto what was drive A. Send drive B to a family member.

That’s it. I told you it was simple — but it’s the best way I’ve found to preserve and protect the most important thing any of us own, our precious memories. I’ve been doing this for a while, so I have two physical copies of our photos at home and family members in Houston, Dallas, and Southern California have all our photos that are no older than six months.

Remember, while technology will keep evolving, bits and bytes won’t change. When current external drives become obsolete, it will be easy to substitute the technology du jour.

I encourage you to think about instituting this system yourself to preserve your true wealth. Failing to do so could put your legacy at risk.


Feel free to contact me to discuss the services I provide as a wealth manager and with any questions you may have about my process of keeping your memories safe.

about the author: Christopher P. Van Slyke CFP®

Christopher Van Slyke CFPChristopher P. Van Slyke CFP® is a past member of the board of directors of The Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Austin, San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as the western region board of directors for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Christopher, a Certified Financial Planner Professional, has been quoted or published in The Wall Street Journal, San Diego Union Tribune, Financial Planning, Smart Money, Financial Advisor, Boomer Market Advisor, MSN Money. Learn More and Contact Christopher for Speaking / Writing Engagements

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