Are you at a loss for how to manage your financial documents? Do you have stacks of paper that need to be filed, or shredded? If so, don’t worry. Most people need a good financial cleaning every once in a while to keep their records in good shape.
Keeping your financial documents in order is important for more than just your sanity—it will also help you manage your money more effectively and make things like paying your bills, managing your credit cards, and doing your taxes seem like a breeze.
We’ll outline some easy and effective tips for tackling piles of bills, bank reports, and credit card statements. Pretty soon, your financial records will be in perfect working order.
Gather all your financial documents
The first step toward a more organized system is to gather all your financial statements, bills, and important documents into one place. Grab a box from the garage or whatever storage container, and place all these documents together.
Separate your bills into four stacks
- To be paid: bills that have not yet been paid
- To do: documents that require review
- File: documents that have been already paid or reviewed and need to be filed away and saved
- Shred: documents with sensitive information that need to be carefully disposed
Set up a filing system
Now it’s time for you to create a detailed filing system. This only requires a small amount of time and will make your life much easier down the road. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Filing storage box
- Filing folders
Once you have your supplies, use the following table as a guide for determining how to organize your files. Keep in mind that you may not need a file for each of these categories, or you may need additional categories not listed here. Use your current stack of financial documents to help determine which files you need.
Auto records – titles and maintenance records of all your cars, trucks, or scooters
Bank accounts – information relating to your bank accounts
Contracts – legal agreements
Credit cards – information relating to your credit cards
Education – enrollment records, diplomas, transcripts, or other related documents
Employment – employee handbook, paycheck stubs, employee evaluations, resumes, and so on
Healthcare – medical records, including vaccination information
Home – monthly statements for water, gas, electric, phones, internet, etc.
Insurance – policies, including home, life, auto, and medical
Loan – documents relating to loans you are currently making payments toward
Taxes – W-2s, 1099s, charitable contributions, and tax returns
Wills – estate-planning documents
Tackle paperwork on a weekly basis
Congratulations! You’ve created an organized, easy-to-use system for taking care of your financial records. The key now is to stay on top of any and all new paperwork that comes through your door.
During the week, refer back to your four-stack process, separating any financial paperwork you receive into a pay, to-do, file, or shred stack. Aim to clear out these stacks by the end of every week.
Though it may sound like a lot of work, in reality this weekly process will soon become second nature. You may even find yourself eliminating the 4-stack method and taking care of your financial documents as you receive them.
Set a quarterly clean-up
Life can get crazy, so plan to do a quick check-in on the status of your financial documents four times a year. You’ll already have your filing system established, so this time around will be an even quicker, easier process.
Need some extra help?
Confused about which financial documents you should keep and which you can shred? Can’t seem to keep up with your bills every month? HawaiiUSA is here to help.
Our team is happy to answer your questions and provide the support and services to help you succeed. Plus, we offer multiple financial resources to make your life easier along the way.
Give us a call today or contact us online.