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De-Clutter Your Finances!

July 20th 2016

I recently wrote a series of blogs on how to achieve Financial Wellness.  In hindsight, I missed what should have been the very first step in this process -- decluttering your financial paperwork.  Below are some helpful hints to assist you in organizing your affairs and developing a system that will keep you on track going forward.

DESTROYING OLD PAPERWORK

Start by getting rid of any paperwork that you no longer need.  You should use a shredder for any documents that contain your name and address or account numbers:

  • Credit card statements, bills, pay slips – if you have checked these for accuracy, you don’t really need to keep these as you can usually access these documents online.  If you haven’t already signed up for online access, now is the time to do so!
  • Tax documents that are more than six years old
  • Paperwork containing personal information that is no longer needed

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Your important documents should be stored in a secure spot (i.e. filing cabinet, safety deposit box, small safe or a secure spot in your home).  A trusted family member should be told the location of your documents:

  • Will, Powers of Attorney
  • Copies of personal identification and credit cards
  • Insurance policies (life, auto, home)
  • House deed and mortgage documents, vehicle documents
  • Investment statements
  • List of professionals you deal with – doctor, lawyer, accountant, financial planner, insurance agent(s)

MONTHLY BILLS AND PAPERWORK

For documents like household bills, credit card statements, and important receipts, use an accordion file system or a small filing cabinet.  Clearly label a separate section or separate file for each type of bill or credit card statement and file the paperwork you currently have.  Going forward, you should file your paperwork immediately so as to stay organized and clutter-free.

You will have peace of mind once the clutter is sorted out and your personal financial documents are organized.  It will be so much easier for you to keep on top of paying bills, stay on budget and easily access paperwork when needed.

Written by Betty Anne Flynn