As our family’s chief financial officer, I try to organize our records, balance the accounts, and employ our assets to maximize returns. And while my family has regular discussions about our finances, if something unexpected happens to me I want it to be easy for them or another family member to know exactly what financial accounts we have, where they are located, and how to access them.
Key documents are kept in a locked file cabinet, a fire-proof safe, or, in the case of receipts for the current tax year, an expandable file folder. Keeping the documents organized aids in tax preparation and insures that we can find documents on short notice. This system has worked well, but there is still opportunity for improvement. Step one of my financial plan was adding two three-ring binders for important documents and updating financial data in Microsoft Money
The first binder includes:
A copy of the document locator was also given to a trusted family member.
The second binder has brokerage statements and trade confirmations in chronological order organized by account.
All financial data, including transactions for bank accounts, investment accounts, and credit cards, is managed in Microsoft Money (I really need to back up that file!) This makes my daily recordkeeping much simpler and should help with the next step in the process of creating a financial plan.