There are lots of things to keep track of in life. It’s easy to forget the importance of organizing your financial documents—especially if there are other things on your mind.
But even if paperwork isn’t kicking and screaming, you must watch it. Otherwise, you might end up in a situation where you lose a bill, can’t verify information, or even have your identity stolen.
Here are some tips on how to keep track of your personal financial documents.
How to Organize Financial Documents
It can be overwhelming to try organizing all the things you get from banks, lenders, and other financial institutions. However, this is something you need to do in order to avoid fees, identity theft, or other issues.
These are a few strategies you can use to get your documentation more organized:
– Keep all your account info organized. Most people have a variety of money-related accounts, from checking accounts and 401(k)s to insurance and utilities. It can get really confusing to keep track of all these without a system—especially when you need to make payments and logins for online accounts.
– Dedicate a place for all things you get in the mail. Does your mail get dropped in random piles around the house? Then it’s likely you’re overlooking important information. Put all your bills and statements in one place so you can go through all of them at once.
– Create folders with different categories. You can really stay on top of things by putting all your paperwork in dedicated folders. There are several ways you can go about this. Some people like to organize by date, while others like to group things by type (investments, mortgage payment, etc.). You can also try putting everything from certain institutions together. However you decide to organize, make sure you choose a system that works for you and your needs.
Understanding Your Financial Documents
Knowing what your documents mean is an important part of staying on top of them. Confusion about a bill or why you’re needing to make a payment can lead to big problems. It’s also to seek out some educational materials if you don’t have a lot of knowledge about these things. Credit card debt is one of the most important areas to learn about the implications of your decisions.
Many people assume that they only need to make the minimum payment in order to handle their credit card bills. While this is technically the only amount you must pay each month, doing so will put you in a world of financial hurt. This is because the balance you carry over on credit cards grows at an extremely high rate—often around 20 percent.
If you only pay the minimum each month, your credit card debt can potentially last for years, while costing you twice as much as the original purchase. It’s possible you’re already in a situation like this. People with an unmanageable debt load should consider the benefits of working with a debt relief agency. Looking at Freedom Debt Relief reviews paints a clear picture of many consumers going from having no idea how to pay off debts to reaching a favorable settlement with creditors. But if you go this route, it’s critical you work with a highly rated agency—as there are some out there only trying to take advantage of you.
Do You Need to Store or Destroy Financial Paperwork?
At some point, you’ll want to part ways with certain financial documents. After all, keeping everything will eventually fill your entire home with paper. It’s important to know what things you should keep, destroy, or just recycle.
It’s smart to hold onto things like mortgage, investment, and pay records. There may be a time where you’ll want to verify these numbers for accuracy. You can typically get rid of bills after you’ve gotten payment verification. However, you should probably destroy them. This also applies for anything that has your sensitive information on it, like a social security number. Either keep it in a safe place or shred it.
Everyone needs to consider the benefits of keeping financial records in order. Failing to do this can lead to big issues in terms of payment verification or security your identity.