How to Set Up a Financial Filing System

Beth Kobliner, author of “Get a Financial Life, Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” shows readers how to get a financial filing system set up. If you need to get in control of your finances and get organized, then you need a financial filing system. We’re recapping Beth’s tips so you can create your own financial filing system and start getting organized with your money!

Getting Started

To get started in setting up a financial filing system, start with whatever you have available online. This will help save time, paper and space in your home. Most bank, credit card, brokerage, and retirement account information is already online. You will want to create folders on your computer reserved for each account.

In those folders, include all of your statements (to date), any notices you have received, and any information related to the opening and/or closing of the account. Since most banks only keep statements online for a certain period of time, it’s best to download documents directly to your computer.

Print vs. Electronic

Certain documents associated with your accounts may only be available in print form. In this case, you can always scan the documents and add them to folders on your computer. You can also reserve a place in a filing cabinet for those specific items.

Most of your other important financial and personal documents are going to be in regular form, not online. You probably won’t want to sit next to the scanner all day, so getting file folders organized for each category is a great alternative.

Here are the file folders you will need to ensure you have the most accurate and useful financial filing system:

1. Auto Loans – Auto loan terms, contract, and additional paperwork
2. Auto (other) – Title, warranties, repair receipts
3. Bank Statements – Statements (if not already online) and account open/close documentation
4. Brokerage Accounts – Statements (if not already online), asset purchase/sale transactions, and account open/close documentation
5. Credit Cards – Statements, Important notices
6. Home Improvements – Home repair expenses
7. Home (purchase) – Closing statement, documents tied to the purchase
8. Insurance – Keep separate folders for each type of insurance you have (home, auto, life, etc.), policy, claims, receipts
9. IRAs – Statements
10. Lease Agreements – Apartment, rental properties
11. Mortgage Interest – Tax forms, proof of interest payments
12. Pay Stubs – Salary documents, pay stubs, W-2s, tax documents
13. Personal Documents – Birth certificate, passport, social security card, etc.
14. Property Taxes – Tax statements, proof of payment
15. Retirement Plan – Statements, summary descriptions, notices
16. Student Loans – Loan agreement, monthly statements
17. Tax Deductible Items – Receipts for items used for tax write-offs
18. Tax Returns – Copies of previous years’ tax returns
19. Warranties, Rebates, Receipts – Keep these documents as related to a major purchase

 Related: Your Guide to Organizing Financial Documents

 

If there are any other important documents that you need to keep track of, create as many folders as necessary! The whole purpose is to become organized and aware of the important financial documents associated with you. This will make your life easier when you need to purchase a home or show proof of assets and liabilities.

If you don’t have an actual filing cabinet, place the file folders in colorful boxes and store them somewhere safe. There is no excuse not to have your financial life organized! Do you have any tips to share for organizing your financial documents? Are you going to read Beth’s book for more great advice? Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below!

-The CGS Team

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