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Great Tips for Organizing Your Finances

New Year, New Resolutions, Get Financially Organized!

  

Don’t let time slip away from you in 2017. You know you want to stand tall on top of your financial life, IN CONTROL…..but somehow all this paperwork, emails, statements, and data fill your inbox and you just don’t know what to do with it. Instead of organizing, you let it sit until it is out of control; no fun to look at and no motivation to get started. Chances are, you’re still sitting on a lot of cash wondering what to do with it since the merger and the vested restricted stock turned to cash.

It is VERY doable to be financially organized and in charge. Start with the upcoming tax season. There are a lot of online tools that can make this process a dream, but no matter how you look at it, you need to start somewhere. Understand the stress you feel looking down a black hole of online emails or piles of paperwork, is part of the process. Accept it and know as you work through it, your understanding of your things, will slowly increase and your stress level will decrease.


Your tax statements are a good place to start taking inventory of what you have. While you are gathering all your tax information for the April 15th deadline, multi-task taxes and get financially organized at the same time.


When you are financially organized, you will know everything you own and owe. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to answer any financial questions you have, understanding what the overall impact is to your financial self.

Step 1

Get a Bin or Cool Box and Throw it in (or make an Electronic Version – make 1 big File and stick every attachment in it).

Get Your Finances in Order and Have Fun Doing it!Be consistent regardless – if it’s all paper, print the electronic forms and if it’s all electronic scan in the paper documents you get in the regular mail. Every year my accountant laughs at me when I bring her the tax bin. Anything that has to do with taxes is thrown in the bin throughout the year. From January to March, you have even more to throw in the bin as you start receiving year end tax documents from banks, investment accounts, etc. (My accountant will be impressed I got a cuter bin this year making it (sigh), just a little bit more fun!)

 

 

Step 2


Benefits Statement, Trust Documents, Legal Doc’s, Insurance-think health, life, and disability. Retirement/Pension Statements, Company Stock Benefits – In the bin too!

Most benefit statements are wrapped into one online portal and print out a yearly statement after open enrollment season is done. You should have just received one. Go ahead, throw in the tax box too. All your year-end statements should be sent out to you in January.

Step 3


Get a Password Organizer

Keep Your Passwords OrganizedI’ve realized part of what I dreaded about my online accounts, was that each time I logged in, I’d have to figure out what my password is. It created a password anxiety for me – thinking about all the time wasted resetting passwords. Create, locate and store in secure place your passwords and give up password anxiety. Yes, our lives ARE more complicated. It takes more time to constantly reset passwords than it does to have a secure password organizer.

A physical notebook works great or you might consider a digital password organizer like Last Pass.

You’re not finished yet, but that’s all you have to do now. It should take 2-3 months to receive all of your tax documents.

 

 

 

Step 4 Register Below, for Part 2 of the Get Financially Organized Series!

Organizing Your Finances Part 2

Congratulations!

If you are on to Part 2, you are serious about getting organized and making your finances more manageable. The act of getting organized, gets you familiar with what you own. This will lower your stress level and give you a quick handle on how to solve all the stressful financial questions life throws on you. STAND TALL financially. Be in control of what you own and where you are going in the future based on your actions now.

Step 4

Separate

get your finances in order separate into filesRemember the bin or electronic filing cabinet you have from Part 1 of this article? Now it’s time to separate.


1a. TAXES: Use cool file folders that make you happy! Make it simple – Everything that goes to your accountant for taxes put in one pile and everything needing organization and management throw in another pile.


1b. For advanced organization separate the “other” pile into more detail – Label Insurance, legal documents, prepared taxes, Bank and Investment Statements, Health Statements, Corporate Benefits Statements, Etc.

 

 

Step 5


Decide to Outsource or Do it Yourself

To determine whether you should outsource financial organization or do it yourself, you need to be able to answer the following series of questions with your finances by reading your statements.

  1. What happens if I live a long life? (how much money will I need when I don’t want to work anymore?) What are my monthly expenses? Do I have enough to cover them and for how long?
  2. What happens if I lose my job?
  3. How will I pay for my children’s college education, how much do I need?
  4. How do I pay my bills if my spouse or I become prematurely disabled and can’t work anymore?
  5. For Singles with no dependents: What happens to my assets if I die unexpectedly?
    For Married or Single with Dependents: How will my family be able to support themselves financially if my spouse or I am no longer around to bring in a paycheck?
  6. What are my annual expenses and income?
  7. What happens if I or a family member suffers from a major medical catastrophe?

Do It Yourselfers: Keep records and answers to the above questions in the same place you hold on to these documents. Ideally, you should find an app or program that allows you to compile all your finances in one place. One that gives you an electronic filling cabinet and passes the banking security rules for online protection. Be able to back up your answers with documentation from your financially organized binder or electronic files. Store all in one place – like a binder or the bin from part 1. It’s a good idea to have one hard copy and one backup copy in a secure online cloud storage location. That should keep you covered.


Outsourcers: Hire a trusted financial professional. I recommend you hire one that gives you access to an online dashboard for all your money matters. On your dashboard you should be able to see your 401k, company stock, investments, insurance, credit cards, spending accounts and other bank accounts in one place. You should be able to pull up quickly a net worth statement with all your assets and liabilities from this online dashboard. Hire someone that will answer all your questions above and the ones that come up from time to time. (Can I buy a new car? Lease or purchase? Can I afford a first or second home? Etc…) Make sure your financial professional can store your documents in a safe vault online where you, your family, and your professionals can store and share documents. Lastly, and very important, hire someone you like. Organizing and managing your finances is no fun, but it can be, if you are working with the right professional; someone you enjoy speaking to when things come up in your life. Once you’ve gathered your information, your financial professional, will do all the heavy lifting for you in organizing, compiling and getting you straight and on the path to financial control.

How do you know if you are financially organized? When you are able to answer all of these questions and support the questions with the appropriate documentation you’ve got it together. Take it a step further, when you can answer these questions and be satisfied you are financially secure and working towards financial independence, you are achieving Financial Happiness. This is a long process. Don’t be afraid of it. Just know, the best place to start taking financial control is by getting organized.

 

Go ahead, take the next step and GET ORGANIZED...

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