This month’s Wealth Series has your new year financial resolutions covered, as we focus on promoting the benefits of financial organization. We published several social media posts approaching this same topic from different perspectives, but in this newsletter, we hope to answer questions like the following:
What is the benefit in financial organization?
What does financial organization look like?
How does a comprehensive financial plan promote organization and why is it important?
An individual who is financially organized has successfully created a system around their financial minutiae. This includes efficient record keeping, a current and accurate assessment of all assets and liabilities (a living and breathing balance sheet), and a comprehensive financial plan that is used as a roadmap to future financial goals and obligations.
Investing time to organize your financial records will enable you to quickly refer to exactly what you need at any given time in the future. Start by tackling the paper-eating monster that may be living on your desk or at your home office. Beginning with the end in mind, we are trying to solve for:
- What is worth keeping (things with a high likelihood of being referenced in the future)?
- What is the most convenient and efficient way to store the items worth keeping (bin)?
These are the four documents that we outlined in previous social posts and deemed the most important to maintain: tax returns, legal contracts, insurance claims and declaration pages, and proof of identity.
To reduce clutter, you might consider electronic storage for some of your financial records. You can save copies of online documents or scan documents and convert them to electronic form. You’ll want to keep backup copies on a portable storage device or hard drive and make sure that your computer files are secure.
You could also use a cloud storage service that encrypts your uploaded information and stores it remotely. If you use cloud storage, make sure to use a reliable company that has a good reputation and offers automatic backup and technical support.
Taking the proper steps to organize and streamline your financial life also contributes to a well-built comprehensive financial plan. As I always remind clients, though the outcome of a comprehensive plan is a snapshot of where you are currently, the outcome produced by the plan is only as accurate as the information that was input.
Additionally, remember that a financial plan should be reviewed at least annually. Plan to regularly provide things like accurate updates on income and expenses, new or lapsed goals, account statements to ensure the plan’s investment returns are like actual returns and so forth.
Through my almost decade of comprehensively advising clients, very few things have offered more peace of mind and room for growth to clients than organizing their financial affairs.