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5 Best Practices for an Organized Financial Life

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Tax season just serves as an indirect reminder of how disorganized our financial lives can become, in the midst of the mad scramble to gather all the relevant financial documents and information in time. Christine Benz from Morningstar offers some suggestions on how people can help get themselves more financially organized in the first place, including:

1) Streamline your financial life to the extent possible in the first place (e.g., consolidate bank and investment accounts down to fewer financial services firms, eliminate the extra credit cards, roll over the old 401(k) plans, etc.)
2) Transition from paper statements to paperless (which not only cuts down on the efforts to organize all that paper, but can also reduce risk of identity theft, as physical financial documents being mailed are still far more easily stolen [from mailboxes] than hacking online financial accounts)
3) Use a password manager, both to maintain financial security, and because remembering all those financial account passwords can itself make you feel more disorganized in trying to remember them all!)
4) For the few papers you still need to keep, create a three-tier filing system with a safe-deposit box at the bank (for the highest value stuff), a home safe or fireproof box (for the valuable but able-to-be-stored locally), and a file cabinet (to organize the rest)
5) Create a master directory, a document that lays out all your key financial information, so that you’ve got an easy reference point (and loved ones can use it to help out in the event die or become disabled). Notably, from the financial advisor perspective, these are not only good tips for being more financially organized, but arguably helping clients do this could even be a value proposition and separate (or bonus) service for clients unto itself

Sources: Morningstar

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