Many of us like the idea of spring cleaning but we are overwhelmed at the prospect of cleaning the entire house. Someone might suggest tackling one room at a time or even on section of a room at a time. It can be the same with cleaning up our financial house. MoneyTalksNews suggests setting a goal:
“Decide what you want to accomplish…Some ideas include:
Clear out two years’ worth of old tax documents.
Sort through one or two boxes of old papers of file cabinet drawers.
Clean out the closet stuffed with old papers.”
Getting rid of documents. While MyCreditUnion.gov suggests that you streamline and purge old documents, MoneyTalksNews goes into more detail. You do need to figure out what you need to keep and what can go. You don’t want to be overzealous and toss something you may need. MyCreditUnion.gov says you need to keep your tax returns and documentation that supports your tax claims for six years and some experts have even said seven years. Once you decide what records you no longer need, you need to shred this documentation and not simply throw it away.
If you decide to keep some records in digital format via saved files or also because you scan and save them, then you can also shred the paper copies but be sure you have backed them up adequately to feel secure that you can access them if needed.
Shop for new bank accounts. Just as you assess and clear items from your home, you can also examine your banking relationships. If you have bank accounts you no longer use, you can close them. And then consider if the interest rates and services offered with the accounts you decide to keep are the kid of value you want. If not, research other financial institutions to see if you can get better rates or better services.
You can undertake a financial spring cleaning before you visit a Fee-Only financial planner so you have a better idea of the state of your finances. You can also consult with a Fee-Only financial planner beforehand and then return home to streamline, purge, and get ready to exercise greater control over your financial life.