5 Simple Rules to Avoid Disaster When You Lose Your Cell Phone By Vickie AdamsIt’s customary at our local Pilates studio to race in and place our keys, phones and shoes into tiny open cubbies. It’s a safe haven where we can separate ourselves from distractions, like the phone, for an hour. This time, when I finished my class and prepared to re-enter the world, I discovered my phone was gone.

We called my number a couple of times hoping we might hear it. Then, I experienced sheer panic as I realized “OMG my phone is really gone. Could it have been stolen?”

Logging on to a friend’s ‘find my iphone app,’ I could see my phone about 3 miles away and still moving. I hit the button that “lock activates” and erases the phone, rendering it inoperable.

Someone suggested, “Why don’t you just go home have some wine, make some calls and figure out what to do next.” I said, “That’s a really great idea, but call them with what?”

So, here are my 5 Simple Rules to Avoid Disaster When You Lose Your Cell Phone:

1. Do not expect your cell phone carrier to share your sense of urgency

Being close to the AT&T store, I went in. Bad idea. You are going to be in a long line and dealing with a person who knows a lot less about your phone than you do and hopes to sell you something. My goal was to view my recent call history which is easily accessible on their website.

I did not know my own admin’s phone number. None of us memorize numbers now, they are all stored in the phone. His response was “I can’t help you with that. But if you’d like to buy a new phone……. I can do that.”

2. Don’t Immediately Buy a New Phone

I moved on to Costco. True to form, they were knowledgable and helpful. Sadly, I learned that the old upgrade system that ensured loyalty with the promise of a new phone at a deeply discounted price is a thing of the past. Most new phones sell for full retail price prorated over 24 months. The average cost of a cell phone, over a 2-year period for a couple of users can be up to $7000 on some carriers. (“Choosing the Best Smartphone Plan for You”, New York Times, Sept 2015)

But they gave me great advice: Buy a $19 ‘GOphone’ and prepay $10.00 for 5 days of service.

This gave me 2 things: A working phone to connect with others, and the ability to contact my carrier, instructing them to forward the calls from my lost phone to that temporary number and receive calls.

3. Always carry insurance on your phone that covers theft.

Never leave your phone anywhere that it may be vulnerable. Theft happens, even in the nicest places. Though I hate having this mindset, somebody did come in and lift my phone. The correct insurance will mitigate some of your replacement costs.

4. Put an autoresponder message on your business email.

If your clients are accustomed to immediate voice or email responses, use autoresponse to avoid business disruption:

“My cell phone is inoperative. If there’s a delay in responding to emails or calls, I will get back to you shortly. If I don’t return your call, please try again.”

5.  If you think your entire life is in that phone, then back it up – frequently.

Many of my divorce clients store timelines, texts, ‘evidence’ on their phones for their cases. While it only took 2 ½ days to replace my phone, during that time I had access to all of my phone contacts and critical info, courtesy of the cloud. If you develop the habit of backing up your phone every day, within a few hours, you will be able to restore most of your info to your new device.

I really hope you never lose your phone, but odds are you will either lose it, have it stolen, or it will simply die. Translation: Be Prepared.

Do you have a contingency plan in case your phone gets lost? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Vickie Adams Divorce Financial PlannerVickie Adams, CFP®, CDFA
310-514-0240
vickie@planvickie.com
www.PalosVerdesDivorceFinancial.com
www.WealthVickie.com