Think about all the financial paperwork you receive each month – either digitally or in the mail. In a typical month you might receive an investment statement, credit card bills, bank statements, and more. Some need to be checked for accuracy while others need to be filed for tax season.
If it is tax season you will get even more financial documents each month. In addition to new ones you are receiving you also have documents that you keep a copy such as previous year tax returns, real estate documents and your will.
While there are countless financial filing “systems” that individuals have created and discuss on their blog, two stand out that were developed by financial authors or planners – David Bach’s File Folder System and the HomeFile Financial Planning Organizer Kit.
David Bach’s File Folder System
Bach’s system consists of 14 hanging folders and approximately 50 file folders. Each hanging folder is labeled with a different category such as:
- Tax Returns
- Retirement Accounts
- Credit Card DEBT
- Savings and Checking Accounts
As documents are received they are placed in the corresponding folder.
Bach’s system is simple and, beyond the cost of the folders, is free. Bach discusses his system in more details at http://www.oprah.com/money/david-bachs-file-folder-system.
HomeFile Financial Planning Organizer Kit
HomeFile was developed by financial planners J. Michael Martin and Mary E. Martin. It contains 22 laminated cards that are pre-labeled and are similar, though more detailed than, Bach’s system. Some examples include:
- Real Estate
Each card is labeled with what is filed there, what is not filed there and when you can remove the document. The system includes a quick-find index so you can locate a document easily and a 48-page handbook with instructions and forms.
The system is $29.95 for one kit. You can learn more at http://www.homefileorganizer.com/.
It is recommended that these types of files are kept in a file-proof locking box or safe. It may be advantageous to make it a portable box so it can be taken with you if needed.