Many people struggle every time they open their mail or email. They ask themselves, “Is this important? Do I need this? Should I keep it? Should I throw it away?”
Somewhere between the paper squirrel, who saves everything “just in case,” and the purger, who tosses everything in the trash, is the organized person for whom keeping records is no big deal. Becoming that organized person is not simple, but taking the steps necessary to get your financial records under control is a task with many rewards — first and foremost, a good night’s sleep.
Keys to success
Having an organized approach to financial records can remove much of the stress associated with living in an increasingly complicated world. As children, parents, spouses, partners, investors, citizens and employees, we all play many roles, each with a trail of paper attached.
This information sheet will help you organize your records by touching on these key topics:
What records should you keep?
How long should you keep them?
How should you keep them organized?
How can you make sure that someone has access to your records in case of an emergency?
What to keep
Knowing what records to keep can be as simple as knowing why you need them.
There are many reasons to keep financial records. In addition to keeping track of papers associated with day-to-day consumer activities such as making purchases and paying down debt, you probably have papers and documents that will be needed only in the event of an emergency, a death in the family or an unforeseen turn of events.
That is why many experts suggest you separate your papers by your need to use them, keeping short-term items together and long-term items together.