Clean Out Your Finances: What to Toss vs. Keep
Clean Out Your Finances
What to Toss vs. Keep
As much as you may hate cleaning as a chore, it always feels good after you do it. Cleaning goes far beyond just tidying up your home life, like deep cleaning the floors or getting rid of old clothes. It’s equally important to clean out and tidy up your financial life. This includes examining all your saved documents involving your taxes, savings, investments, properties, tuition, healthcare, credit cards, etc.
Are your physical files disorganized or bursting at the seams?
It may be daunting to think about throwing away financial files, especially as the IRS encourages individuals and business owners to keep important tax records. However, not all files need to be kept in physical form forever. There are plenty of secure online cloud storage options that can help you declutter physical files. We offer clients a secure portal such as this one to upload and save financial files and data.
If you’re feeling a bit financially disheveled, start by organizing your financial statements.
Below are 6 tidying tips on what to toss and what to keep or update.
WHAT TO TOSS
1.) Tax filings from 2015 or older. The IRS allows up to three years to amend taxes; any files beyond that are likely unnecessary unless you’re facing a special tax situation or in an ongoing audit.
2.) Unused bank accounts. Do you have multiple checking and savings accounts that aren’t being used? If they aren’t earning you money, consider consolidation for ease of management and organization.
3.) Old credit cards. Cut up old credit cards you aren’t using but don’t cancel them with the issuer; that will erase your history, which could have adverse effects on your credit score. If you’re planning to apply for a loan in the next 1-2 years, creditors want to see how you’ve historically managed debt.
WHAT RECORDS to KEEP or UPDATE
1.) Retirement account contributions. Keep a record of your contributions to your retirement plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, or IRAs. Later, you will need to know which contributions were made with pre- vs post- tax dollars.
2.) Investments' cost basis. Keep an accurate record of your investments’ cost basis (i.e. record of your investments' purchase prices) from each of your accounts to accurately assess your capital gains and losses when you liquidate them in the future.
3.) Beneficiary Information. Make sure your beneficiaries are up-to-date. Double-check insurance policies, wills, power of attorneys, retirement accounts, and any other account where you have a listed beneficiary. It’s always encouraged to list a secondary beneficiary in case the first is not available.
The Bottom Line:
As a start, help alleviate that sense of feeling financially disheveled by organizing and updating your financial files. This simple task can help you feel financially refreshed – just like a clean house. Plus, you’ll have a better sense of preparedness for tax season coming up in just 5 months!
Start building the life you’ve always wanted.
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