It’s tax time! Are you ready? Will you be filing on time or need an extension? Either way, do you have your finances organized?
I’m not a financial advisor but I do like having my finances organized and file my taxes on time every year. I have my dad to thank for this and feel blessed that at a pretty young age was given the financial literacy to understand the basics, especially to not live beyond my means. I vividly remember at 18 before going off to college my dad opening a credit card for me and him explaining that I was to pay it off every month no matter what I charged and this way I should never charge more than I can pay off. Advice I actually listened to. I appreciate these lessons now even more and especially as I start to teach my son about the basics of finance.
I’ve worked quite a bit over the last few years with a local fiduciary office that manages high wealth clients. I help them to organize large, overwhelming cases that they don’t have the time or manpower to deal with. This has given me an insider’s perspective into just how very important it is to stay on top of your finances by keeping them organized. On more than one occasion 10 or more boxes of paper would be dropped off of just financial statements for someone’s estate that was in complete disarray. I had to make heads or tails of it all, like a 10,000 piece puzzle.
From my own experience and from working with my clients, I’ve learned a few things about keeping your finances organized.
Here are my top 3 takeaways:
Keep all digital financial statements in one place. Because so much is done online now and luckily we are saving resources by going paperless, lots of statements are coming to us via email. So, create a folder specifically for that in your inbox. In gmail, they’re called labels. You may have several, for instance one is banking, investments and taxes for that specific year.
Put all paper statements in file folders by account, investment, or type. If there is only one statement a year, maybe those could be grouped together in investments, for example.
To organize your taxes all year long have a file folder or old school expandable file folder with pockets labeled with that tax year. My 2019 tax folder already has donation receipts from the thrift store and acupuncture receipts from appointments I’ve been to this year. When January of next year rolls around and I start to receive my tax statements I put them in the folder, too. Once they’re all in one place (two including the email tax folder) I’m able to simply group things together before handing over to my accountant.
If you need help there is no shame in being disorganized. It’s never too late to create new habits so that next year it’s a breeze. If you need help or get stuck give me a call!