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Ask the CFP – How should I manage my important documents? (Part 1)

October 05, 2020

Ask the CFP – How should I manage my important documents? (Part 1)

This column is where our staff of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals answers your financial planning questions. The question we’ll address in this issue is:

Q: How should I manage my important documents?

A: An essential part of managing your personal finances is keeping your financial records organized. Whether it’s a utility bill to show proof of residency or a Social Security card for wage reporting purposes, there may be times when you need to locate a financial record or document with relative ease.

What should you keep?

If you tend to keep papers because you “might need it someday,” your desk or home office is probably overflowing with nonessential documents. One of  the first steps in determining what records to keep  is to ask yourself, “Why do I need to keep this? Is this record vital?”

Documents you should keep are likely to be those that are difficult to obtain or replicate, such as:

  • Tax returns
  • Legal contracts
  • Insurance claims
  • Proof of identity

On the other hand, if you have documents and records that are easily obtained online, such as bank statements and credit-card statements, you probably do not need to keep paper copies of the same information and you may want to shred them.

To be continued in our next blog post.

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