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Organize Schmorganize

by Jaime Thompson on September 7, 2010

file cabinetsI know I know, organizing is no fun. Well unless you’re a Type A like me who actually considers it a sport. Last week I alluded to your organized file cabinet and this week we’ll delve into that a little further to get you on the right track if you aren’t already there.

First you’ll need a place to hang file folders. No, you don’t need an industrial sized metal clunker. The first file cabinet I ever had was something I picked up at one of those super stores for around $5. It’s plastic and fits in the bottom of a closet, perfect for a small space. Obviously you’ll need to get some hanging folders with a tab at the top to create labels. Find an hour or two, a good friend to help or some great music to listen to then get to it.  The following list includes the basic categories you should start with. I recommend keeping each primary category in alphabetical order and the subcategories also in alphabetical order behind it. And you guessed it, keep papers in chronological order when applicable.

Banking (savings & checking)
Children (bank accounts)
Credit Card Debt (hopefully you don’t need this one!)
Household (mortgage/rent, utilities, phone)
Insurance (auto, home owners, life, disability)
Investments (brokerage accounts, college savings, retirement)
Legal (alimony, child support, copy of wills)
Medical (bills, claims, copy of power-of-attorney, receipts)
Tax Returns

I understand that space is often at a premium, but there are some documents you will need to keep forever. In the previous list I reference keeping a copy of some of the below documents in your file cabinet so they’re easy to get to, but originals should be stored in something more secure such as a fire proof box.

Birth and death certificates
Passports
Immunization records
Marriage papers (and divorce papers)
Will and Living Trust
Health Care Proxy
Insurance Policies
Real Estate

Once you accomplish this task, give yourself a pat on the back or a little treat as a reward.  My hope for you is that you will start to find that peace and order in your environment will promote peace and order in your financial life.

(photo by jono dot com)

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