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*
Rent, Mortgage and/or Equity Line Statements*
Insurance (House, Car, Umbrella)
Car Payments and/or Car Care
Medical – information and receipts*
Warrantees and receipts
Utility bills (phone, gas, electric)
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.