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Digital locker makes it easier to value your tangible assets

By Scott Walchek, Founder and CEO of Trōv 

What are your tangible assets worth? If you are like most people, you don't have a clear answer to that question. And without that clarity, you are leaving a gaping hole in your wealth management strategy. Tangible assets - valuables ranging from fine art and wine to classic cars and jewelry - make up an ever increasing portion of household wealth. Without visibility into what you own and what it is worth, you not only risk big financial and tax hits in the event of loss and estate transfer; you narrow your liquidity options.

Fortunately, technology has emerged that makes collecting, valuing and managing information about tangible assets significantly easier and more efficient than it has been in the past. Now, appraisers can collect detailed data and provenance on property and possessions and upload them to a personal, online digital locker, where the items are regularly valued, securely managed, and accessible anytime. As items are added and/or values change, the owner (you) is notified - and can choose to automatically alert your advisors, including insurers and wealth managers, to ensure the items are accounted for and adequately protected.

This secure online digital locker is called a Trōv (as in treasure trove), and its ability to provide on-going transparency into values can be eye-opening to its users.  Case in point - a family in Seattle has a large, valuable art collection. Thirty years ago, they had the pieces insured, using estate values provided by auction houses. These values, as a rule, are much lower than retail replacement values, thus the family's collection was initially insured at about half of what it should have been. The collection had not been appraised since the early 1980's and, when a wealth manager had it re-appraised in 2012 with Trōv, values had changed so substantially that a piece valued for $350,000 from 1983 now carries a fair market value of potentially $80 million.

The consequences of this type of undervaluation are significant. Had the owner passed away prior to Trōv's revaluation, the estate could have suffered an immense tax bill. In the event of loss, theft, fire or water damage, the owner would have been severely underinsured and faced significant loss. In addition, had they known the higher value of the artwork, the owner could have sold or leveraged it. The bottom line is - with more information about your valuables; you can make more informed decisions.

This ability to capture, securely store and provide real-time valuations is a momentous step forward in tangible wealth management, and has been made possible by several technological advancements:

Data About Your Prized Possessions 

There is a massive amount of data now available on luxury items. Whether your passion investment is wine, diamonds, classic automobiles or fine art, there is a database that captures the real-time value changes in the category. By using technology to process that data, individuals gain a better composite view of their wealth, a greater idea of potential liquidity options, and a more accurate way to assess risk.

Digital Collection - On-site and Where You Shop 

In the not-so-distant past, you had to take pictures or videos and store them on your hard drive, keep receipts in a safe deposit box, and use a spreadsheet to capture information on your valuables. Now that all communication and record keeping has gone digital - certified appraisers can use apps to capture all of this information on-site, merchants can email electronic receipts, and individuals can snap a picture of any acquired item, add support information like a receipt, package art, or bar- or QR-code - and send it to their personal digital locker in real-time. All of this information is securely accessible anytime, anywhere.

Cloud Storage and Connectivity 

Once information is collected electronically, it can be safely and securely stored in a personal digital locker in the cloud. This eliminates the need for paper records or other media that can be lost, stolen, or destroyed.  In addition to storage, the cloud provides connectivity - a virtual connected ecosystem where individuals can privately view the value of their tangible assets, and manage those assets -including easily connecting to on-line auction houses, dealers, insurers, wealth manager and the like to sell, insure, donate, or take other beneficial actions powered by information about everything they own.

Ultimately, data is currency, and new technology is helping individuals cash in on the data about their tangible wealth. The information about our possessions has inherent value. By adopting emerging technologies to collect, value and connect the information about individuals' personal property, we can finally gain transparency into tangible assets - completing the total wealth picture.

Trōv is training the world's leading appraisers and insurance risk managers to use its Trōv Collect application when they're in their client's homes. With the acquired information a Trōv is activated -and with it a complete knowledge of what each family owns, where it's located and what it's worth. This information is securely accessible by the client anytime, anywhere.

To get more information about Trōv, visit www.trov.com or call (888) 513-3573. To learn about how HUB is using Trōv to better serve its clients, contact your HUB broker.

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