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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
52 WEEKS TO FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION: #10 Store Your Financial Documents Securely

I had an ulterior motive last week when I asked you to create your Un-Balance Sheet a spreadsheet of your assets and liabilities, but without their current monetary values.  I asked you to simply make a list of everything you OWN and everything you OWE, their account numbers, and the location of any documentation of those assets and liabilities (such as titles, deeds, notes, etc.).
My ulterior motive is no surprise:  Gathering your asset and liability paperwork to make your spreadsheet gives you the perfect opportunity to store your financial documents properly.  You need to have two types of storage for your financial paperwork.   The first is a safe deposit box at a bank, or a fire-resistant home safe.  The second type of storage is a file drawer or file box at home.  Below is a list of assets and liabilities and where you should store the related paperwork:
ASSETS                                                    WHERE TO STORE PAPERWORK
Checking Account(s)                                             Financial file
Savings Accounts(s)                                             Financial file
Home(s)                                                Deed in safe deposit box
                                                             Records of improvements to home in financial file 
Vehicle(s)                                                             Title in safe deposit box;                                                                                               Purchase & service records in financial file
Investments-CDs/Stocks/Bonds/Funds/              Certificates in safe deposit box;
401K/Retirement Plans                                        Statements in financial file
Life Insurance Policies                                         Safe deposit box
Credit Card(s)                                                      Financial file
Accounts Payable (outstanding bills)                   Original note in safe deposit box;
                                                                            Other paperwork in financial file
Mortgage(s) Payable                                           Original note in safe deposit box;
                                                                            Other paperwork & statements in financial file
Home Equity Line(s) of Credit                              Original note in safe deposit box;
                                                                            Other paperwork & statements in financial file
Bank Loan(s) Payable                                          Original note in safe deposit box;
                                                                            Other paperwork & statements in financial file
Also keep in your safe deposit box:
         A copy of your Un-Balance Sheet
Additional things for your financial files:
         One key to your safe deposit box, with a note of the bank's name and address and the names of the people authorized to open the box.
         Photocopies of every document in your safe deposit box.  Make a note on the copy as to the location of the original.
         A copy of your Un-Balance Sheet
Your Homework for this Week:
1.       If you don't already have one, obtain a safe deposit box or a home safe.
2.       Set up a financial file drawer at home.
3.       Update your Un-Balance sheet with the new locations of your financial paperwork.
4.       Give a copy of your Un-Balance sheet to your next-of-kin or personal representative.
5.       Store your financial paperwork in your safe deposit box and financial file.

posted on: 3/15/2009 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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Minimizing Financial Clutter

by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

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