Cut the Financial Clutter
Piles of bills. Old paperwork. Misplaced statements. Financial clutter can cause more than stress. It can also cause you to lose money because of missed contribution deadlines, forgotten accounts, overlooked tax savings, and more. Below are six tips to help you cut the financial clutter.
Prepare an inventory. Set aside time for a financial inventory. First, make a list of all your financial accounts. Then, gather all your financial paperwork in one place and organize it into three piles: One of things to keep hard copies of, one of things to keep digital copies of, and another of things to get rid of completely.
Shred, shred, shred. Much of the paperwork you’ve been hanging on to for years can be thrown away. Tax returns can usually be disposed of after three years, though in some cases (like if you’re self-employed) you’ll want to keep them for a longer period. Credit card statements can typically be shredded once you’ve confirmed there are no erroneous charges, and most receipts can be pitched right away, unless they’re for a large purchase or for an item you plan to deduct from your taxes. Loan documents can be shredded once you’ve paid off the debt in full.
Get a scanner. These days, there’s no reason to keep hard copies of most financial documents. Invest in an affordable scanner and make digital copies of records you want to retain but don’t need originals of, like health records, old tax returns, and Social Security statements.
When possible, consolidate accounts. Having numerous financial accounts is a major source of clutter. Do you really need multiple savings accounts at different institutions? Do you have several different 401(k)s from old employers? Do you have half a dozen credit cards, but only use one or two? When possible, streamline and consolidate. Not only will this make things easier to manage, but you’ll reduce the risk of forgetting accounts and eliminate extra fees. Consolidating investment accounts will also make it easier to make sure that your portfolio is properly allocated and diversified.
Automate your finances. Reduce the amount of clutter coming in by signing up for online bank account and investment statements. However, because some banks may only allow you to access the past several months of statements, you may want to download the records and save them elsewhere. When possible, automate bill payment and paycheck deposits. You’ll minimize the risk of late payments and avoid problems with lost checks.
Get an online vault and home safe. Even as you move to a digital financial life, you’ll still want to take steps to safeguard your financial information and vital documents. Personal computers can be compromised or stolen, so you may want to add an extra layer of protection by storing your financial information in a secure online vault. An added bonus? You'll be able to access your financial information from anywhere. Of course, not everything can be stored online. A fireproof home safe is a good place to store items that you need to maintain original copies of. Marriage and death certificates, deeds to your home, car titles, Social Security cards, and copies of your will are all items commonly stored in home safes. One word of caution if you have a safe — make sure your family will be able to access it in the event you die or fall ill.
Representative is registered with and offers only securities and advisory services through PlanMember Securities Corporation, a registered broker/dealer, investment advisor and member FINRA/SIPC. 6187 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria CA. 93013, (800) 874-6910. Randall Wealth Management Group and PlanMember Securities Corporation are independently owned and operated. PSEC is not responsible or liable for ancillary products or services offered by Randall Wealth Management Group or this representative. CA Insurance License: #0727953.
This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.