Financially Fit in 5

5-Minute articles to make your finances
simple, easy, and care-free.

A Resolution You Can Keep – Getting Your Financial Life Organized

As I write this post, it’s mid-December and  the new year is fast approaching.   It’s time to start getting financially fit.  Why wait until January 1 to start this journey?  Why not start this week? Success isn’t hard when you have a plan and someone to help along the way.

When your goal is to become financially fit, the task may seem overwhelming.  So, let’s keep it simple. When I meet with a new client, the first task is getting the paperwork organized and in a place that is easy to use.   If I were there with you, I would set up your files.  We’d make a decision of how to keep the files.  Here are the choices – you can keep

the physical documents in a file cabinet or accordion file,


create a computerized filing system,


a combination of both

which ever system might work best for you and your lifestyle.  But we want to set up a system that you will keep throughout the year.

Here are the basic files you should set up:

Checking Account Statements*

Investment Account Statements*

Credit Card Statements*

Tax Documents*


Rent, Mortgage and/or Equity Line Statements*

Pet Care

Insurance (House, Car, Umbrella)

Car Payments  and/or Car Care

Medical – information and receipts*

Employment information

Warrantees and receipts

Utility bills (phone, gas, electric)

Miscellaneous File

Now depending on your own personal situation, you may need to create some sub-files for some of these categories.  As an example, if you have several children and you have college savings accounts, you may wish to set up a college savings file separate from your personal investment file.  But that would be a personal choice.

I have set up a miscellaneous file for all those papers you want to keep but are unusual in nature.  For example, I keep my credit reports in the miscellaneous file.  ( By the way, if you need info on credit reports, see our blog titled “Where to get your free no strings attached credit report.) And, no cheating here – it’s easy to dump all the papers in the miscellaneous file, but let’s not go there.

There’s an asterisk (*) next to any file which needs to be kept to help in filing your annual taxes.  This way, when it’s tax time, you simply need to access the pertinent files.