Now, we are sure that you spent your extra free time during the pandemic organizing your finances. After all, you’ve likely been at home, with all those papers just staring back at you. You probably got right on it after you finished your second novel.

What, you didn’t? Join the club. But before the real world beckons, here are some steps you will want to take to get your finances organized this spring.

Get rid of those pesky old financial documents

Your office file cabinets are not a safety deposit box. It seems intuitive to keep everything. After all, you never know when you will need it. But there are better ways to hold onto those files that won’t leave you thumbing through piles of documents when you need them.

You should keep all of your financial records and tax documents for the last seven years. That’s it. It doesn’t mean you need boxes full of tax statements and receipts littering your home. You can scan your documents and keep them on a secure hard drive, and you can toss them when they are no longer necessary.

Organize the documents you need to keep

Keep your files organized. If you are using a filing cabinet, organize your files chronologically, so you can find them when you need to. If you decide to scan your documents, make sure to appropriately title and organize each file. Again, try grouping them by year, with subfolders that categorize each file by their purpose and priority level.

If you need to have the paper files around, make sure they are put somewhere secure, but easy to access.

Clean house for estate planning purposes

You probably want to keep your family heirlooms, but childhood toys and other items can clutter up our storage rooms, basements and garages. That can be distressing and costly. Help keep your home tidy by selling, donating or throwing away unwanted items.

If they are your children’s toys, you may find that your child doesn’t feel the need to keep them. If so, it could be an opportunity to get excess items out of your home and help free up space for new memories.

If you’re keeping valuable items, consider passing them to your children or other relatives now. You will get to see your family enjoy them, and it will help to make the estate planning process easier down the road.

Consolidate your accounts

Take your spring cleaning mindset one step further and clean up your banking and investment statements.

If you have investment accounts with different custodians, think about moving your investment dollars into a single account that you can keep a closer eye on. Close bank accounts and credit cards that you no longer need to help keep your finances organized and easy to maneuver.

As ever, if you feel like you need a helping hand, talk to a financial advisor about using that spring cleaning mindset to simplify your financial life.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


This article was originally published in the Pioneer Press. You may view the article here.