December 01, 2012
End-of-Year Financial Clean Up
It’s hard to believe, but 2012 is almost over! Throughout the year, you may have accumulated receipts, investment statements, bills, and other similar documents. Day to day, it can be difficult tracking and organizing all of this information, but with 2013 close at hand, now is a good time to get these documents in order so they are more accessible whenever you need them. While you’re at it, take the time to review your credit report and your estate planning documents if you have yet to do so in 2012.
Decide what personal and financial documents you need to keep and what you can toss (we recommend cross-shredding these). Receipts for minor purchases that are not returnable and/or are out of warranty can be discarded. Monthly and quarterly statements for your checking, savings, and investment accounts are not needed once you have your annual statements.
Once you’ve reduced the paperwork, use different folders to organize the remaining documents by type: Personal (e.g., birth certificates, marriage licenses, will); Financial (e.g., retirement account statements, loan statements, pay stubs); Housing (e.g., property tax receipts, mortgage bills/payments); Insurance (e.g., life, property, auto insurance); and Tax (interest payment records, medical expense records, charitable gift records).
In addition to investing in a cross-cut shredder, consider purchasing a scanner to keep electronic records to back up your documents -- or in some cases, replace hard copies to reduce the amount of paper you have on hand.
Review your credit
You have the right to a free credit report once a year. It’s important to review this report annually to ensure the information it contains is correct. Inaccuracies could negatively affect loan applications and might also be an indication of identity theft. If you find any erroneous items, contact the appropriate credit organization to discuss them and remove them from your report.
Review estate planning documents
As with your credit report, regularly checking your estate planning documents is important. By checking these at the end of every year, you can consider how events that occurred throughout the year might affect your estate plans.
For more tips and help with your financial end-of-year clean up, contact [FSR NAME], Covenant Trust Company’s local Financial Services Representative, at [FSR NUMBER]. We’d love to help you close out 2012 properly so you can start 2013 off right.