Being financially organized is more than just making sure your bills are paid on time. It’s tough to create a simplified system to stay on top of your finances. And if you don’t, they could easily get out of hand.
Being organized with your money and automating certain things will make managing your money easier.
I want to share with you what I do to organize my financial documents. Take away what you want from it. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone because perhaps you don’t use Google Chrome or don’t like storing any information in the cloud. That’s ok! No matter how you organize your finances they need to be in a place easily accessible and simple to stay on top of.
Most people’s finances are so disorganized that they don’t even know where to start. Important documents like wills and life insurance policies are stashed away in a filing box… somewhere. There are paper statements for a few of the investment accounts, but the rest require an online login… using a forgotten password. Sometimes people don’t know where all their assets are. “I think there’s still some money left in that old 401(k) from my job a few years ago?”
Here are some suggestions:
1. Sort through paper statements and existing files. Shred unnecessary files.
It’s easy to let the stack of papers grow without sorting through them and deciding what is important and what is not. Not only does it take up space but it can start to cloud your mind.
I love taking a stack of papers that I don’t need anymore and shredding them. It clears my mind and frees up some space.
Pick a day to spend a few minutes and tackle that stack of documents that have been growing. Once you’ve gotten rid of those that you don’t need and kept the ones that you do, what do you do with them?
2. Get a small filing cabinet.
I use something like this one
I personally don’t want anything bigger than this because it forces me to only keep the papers that are important and I don’t want a big filing cabinet sitting in my home filled with papers that I’m not going to need.
If there is extra space in our home it tends to always get used up. So keep it simple and space at a minimal.
3. Create a Financial Folder in Google Drive.
One way I keep the physical documents at a minimum is setting up a financial folder in Google Drive that contains my bank statements, investments statements, insurance policies, taxes, credit reports and other documents I may need in the future.
Now, of course, the question that gets brought up is security. Is it safe to store your stuff on the cloud?
If you’re worried about storing your information in the cloud read this article from the NewYork Times.
4. Connect all of your accounts in one place.
This has probably helped me stay organized financially more than anything else. Instead of logging into 10 different accounts to check the different information you connect all of your accounts in one place.
When you log in you have everything you need to see in one central place.
I use software like Mint or Personal Capital which really makes my life easy.
5. Create bookmarks in Google Chrome
Aside from connecting all of my accounts in one place, it’s nice to keep all of the different websites I use on a daily basis organized.
I’ve always known you can “bookmark” web pages, but when I found out you can create folders for different areas of your life I organized everything.
Create a bookmark on your browser for everything related to your finances and when you do need to login to something you won’t have to search for it and everything important that you need will be easily accessible.
We all get statements from our banks, insurance, investments, etc. Most of us don’t look at these statements but they are important to have and review regularly. I looked for a way to securely store all of my financial documents and I came across FileThis.
How it works is you can connect up to six accounts for free and each time you have a statement it will automatically import those statements into Google Drive neatly organized and I didn’t have to lift a finger.
It’s nice to know that if I ever need to access any statements is all I have to do is log into my Google Drive where they are securely stored.
Here’s a bonus tip: set a reminder to check your credit report every 4 months. You’re allowed to see it for free one time a year from each of the three credit bureaus. So by spreading it out every 4 months, you’ll be able to constantly monitor your credit and make sure everything is accurate and organized.
I know this way of organizing doesn’t work for everyone. Perhaps you don’t use Google Chrome or Drive or maybe you’re worried about safety. That’s ok! This is what works for me and I’m open to any suggestions you may have!