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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Project Organize: Step 1

As many of us do, I have decided to become more organized this year. Especially with regards to my finances and paperwork.

Today I finally wrestled all my important docs into well-labeled files. If you are interested in sorting through yours, here's some inspiration as to how to do it.

I used 5 separate 3-ring binders:

1. Important:
Sub sections:
  •  Identity: Passports and Social security cards
  • Certificates: Birth, Marriage and Citizenship Papers
  • Work and Education: Degrees, Certifications, Letters of Recommendation, and leave paperwork.

2. Taxes
Sub sections:
  • Tax returns filed by years (You need to keep at least 5 years of personal taxes, 7 for business)
  • Tax deductible sections- medical, donations, childcare

3. Insurance
Sub Sections:
  • Life Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Home/ Content
  • Medical (The most stressful area of my life, if you remember from my post yesterday)
4. Finances
Sub Sections:
  • Cover Page listing all credit cards and numbers, and a page listing bank accounts and numbers.
  • Retirement
  • Investments (this is empty, but I plan on investing in SOMEthing other than shoes this year!)
5. Daily
  • Quick Reference: This includes pages for important numbers like SS, Drivers license, Doctors, Billers numbers. etc
  • To do: Items that need to be addressed immediately, to do lists of things around the house that need fixing/replacement/etc, things to send
  • Ideas and Inspiration: Areas for recipes to try, projects to make, general goals, etc
Then of course I have my handy, would-be-lost-without daily planner for setting appointments, dates and it even has a section for to-do lists and shopping lists in the back that can be torn out.

Some other interesting things I encountered regarding finances is that unpaid medical bills DO affect your credit, so don't let anyone tell you they don't. Also be sure to go to the Social security Website and use their calculator to determine how much SS you will get when you retire. It will be a shocking wake up call, as you will probably be unable to even afford a place to live. for instance, if you make $30,000 a year and are  paying in to SS for 30 years, you would be paid out the equivalent of today's $800 a month. Who could survive as a family on that? Especially if you only have one person paying in! It's scary so make sure you have a plan. I'm calling someone NOW to schedule an appointment regarding retirement.

So hopefully all this will help me stay  on track of everything this year...starting with sorting out the insurance  and retirement messes!

Love and colored post-its,
Kerry, the Momster

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