Plan Ahead for an Easier Future
The first step in an effective personal financial plan is organization. Not only do you need to identify your spending patterns-where, when and how you spend your money-you also need to organize the paperwork that documents those expenses, as well as any other records that are important to your financial life.
In other words, you need to organize your personal life the way you would with your business. You should set up a personal filing system to keep your important financial records in order. Make sure they are in a place that you and your family can easily find when you need to get your hands on those records.
Many people have their records scattered throughout their homes-in drawers, boxes and closets. You should set up one central location-preferably a desk or filing cabinet-where you can keep all of your records in a single, easy-to-find place.
What types of documents should be in your filing system?
Tax records. You should keep your tax returns from at least six years back along with supporting documentation, such as checking account statements, credit card statements and receipts that show what you paid for big ticket items.
Legal documents. You may have a number of legal documents that you will need to find at some point for personal or estate purposes. Those items would include birth certificates, adoption papers, business ownership papers, passports, contracts, funeral arrangement agreements, deeds and titles, education records, insurance policies, living wills, powers of attorney, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, military service records, loan documents and, of course, your last will and testament and other trust documents.
Investment records. If you’ve purchased stocks or mutual funds, it’s important to have a complete record of all of those purchases to use for tax purposes when you sell those investments. Keep records that show when you bought those investments and what you paid. And, by all means, you should keep all of your retirement plan records safely tucked away until you’ve withdrawn all of the money from those plans.
Financial documents. File away all of your insurance policy statements in a place that your family can find in case something happens to you. Life insurance policies should be easily accessible and well marked. Also keep health and disability insurance policies in a file that is well marked. You should also keep property insurance policies, such as homeowners, renters and auto insurance records in your financial filing system.
Other family documents. Do have written histories from yourself or your ancestors that could be of interest to the next generations. How about newspaper articles about yourself or your ancestors that you’ve managed to save. Your children, grandchildren or other decedents might find it interesting to read about you and their other ancestors years from now. It’s all part of their genealogy. Make it easy for them to learn about you and their entire family tree by putting those documents in a file that is clearly marked and easy to find.
By developing a simple, effective filing system, you can make life easier for yourself and your family. With a little organizational effort now, you can save yourself and your family a lot of time and trouble later.
Let us help you. Contact Wealth Enhancement toll free today and begin planning for an easier financial future. 1-800-492-1222
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor.