Essential files vs. Suggestions: An explanation

You may have noticed around our website - and in product descriptions especially - a reference to "essential" files as well as "file suggestions" (or something similar). If you've been confused by this, don't worry! We're here to clarify.

One of the benefits of creating a PCS binder with a List & File set is the mental work - there's almost none! We spent hours of research, outreach, and consideration developing a comprehensive list of vital documents so you don't have to. No more duplicate work recreating your binder every time you PCS, or forgetting important paperwork. Once created, a List & File binder set will track your files (and any new additions) for up to 10 PCS moves.

Half of this comprehensive list is considered "essential" files - a.k.a. the files that come pre-printed on every binder set. These are the files that every single military family will absolutely (or should) have and be tracking. Examples of these files include:

Birth certificates

Social security cards

Health insurance (Tricare) policy information


Powers of attorney


Copy of DD Form 93

Life insurance policy information

Tax returns & documents

Copies of LES

Vehicle insurance policies

Title/lease agreements


We've tailored these essential, pre-printed files to the lowest common denominator, making our binder sets as applicable as possible to as many families as possible. So if you are surprised that your set doesn't seem to list a very common file (such as "Marriage license" or "Daycare records"), don't fret! It's very likely that those files are listed on our "Additional Suggestions" insert instead.

Every List & File binder set purchase includes our Additional Suggestions list. This list makes up the other half of the comprehensive list, and includes the files that are very common but do not apply to every military family, as the "essential" files do. It's provided for you as a constant, thorough reference to customize and expand your binder even further. Some examples include:

Marriage license

Divorce decree

Claims forms

EFMP paperwork

Medication lists


Estate planning documents

Student loan information

Care package ideas

IEP files, non-standardized test results

Pet license/registration


As time goes on, files will move in and out of relevance based on your situation (e.g. daycare records, deployment contact info) and some will obviously be updated or replaced (e.g. health records, mortgage/lease agreements, powers of attorney). List & File binder sets allow for all of these changes with their unique checkbox table and "Notes" space. But, as is always a good idea while in military life, be sure to write in pencil when possible! ;)

Ready to start? Shop our binder sets now to get YOUR perfect, once-and-for-all Life Binder made!

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