Spring is in the air, and for many that means spring cleaning. As you empty your closets, consider taking time to focus on organizing yourself financially. In the long run, it’s probably more important than cleaning out your garage.
An unorganized financial situation becomes a major issue in times of crisis. Getting organized today makes a huge impact when the unexpected strikes. To make it easy, we put together four ways that you can clean up your finances this spring.
1. Find the information – and document it.
Create a list of what accounts you have and how to access them. Document all your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, etc. in one place – and put it somewhere safe. While you’re at it, list out the various bills and payments you owe and their due dates. Keep this information in a centralized location – and tell someone where to find it.
2. Purge what you don’t need and save what you do.
Do you have boxes of old bills and bank statements stacking up in your spare bedroom? It’s time to start getting rid of them. Generally, you need to keep a year’s worth of monthly statements, unless you are planning to purchase a house soon. In that case, keep two years of statements. It’s also not a bad idea to go paperless – and keep digital copies rather than paper. That doesn’t work for everyone, but if it works for you – go for it! Also, make sure to hold onto important items such as tax returns, deeds, policies and documents, like birth certificates, marriage license and wills.
3. Create goals for your finances.
This step is really customized to your family. Look at your overall financial situation and determine what areas need work. Creating financial goals can be as simple as sticking to a budget or saving for retirement. It can also be more complex, like a plan to pay off your debt or increase your credit rating. Whatever your goal, create steps that help you work towards success.
4. Update your estate plans.
Brush off your estate planning documents and make sure they are still relevant. If it has been several years since you looked at it, there’s a very high possibility that your documents are outdated. If you don’t update your estate plan regularly, it’s a recipe for disaster. If you are one of the 67% of Americans without a will, we strongly encourage you to create one. The best way to control what happens to your estate in the future is to plan properly now. This is also a good time to make sure the beneficiaries on all your life insurance and retirement accounts are correct.
When it comes to financial spring cleaning, you aren’t alone! You can request our free Family Wealth Inventory Organizer as a tool to help you start strategically assembling your critical information. We also offer a complimentary Family Wealth Planning Session to help you get more financially organized and talk through your estate planning needs. We pride ourselves on building lifelong relationships with our clients, and we create customized estate plans that include updates every three years to ensure your plan always stay relevant.