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Spring Clean Your Finances
March 7, 2017
With Spring right around the corner, now can be an excellent time to let 'air out' your finances while you're tidying up everything else around you.
Gather your documents
Regardless of whether you're prepping for taxes, recently finished filing, or still in procrastination phase; chances are you have stale documents lying around. Now is a great time to gather them all up and notate their purpose to make it easier to decide what to do with them.
To keep - or not to keep Once you have located and gathered all your sensitive documents, you can move onto the next course of action; to file or destroy. in most cases, you should plan on keeping tax returns and any supporting documents (e.g., W-2s, mileage logs if you itemize, etc.) for at least three years after the date you filed or the due date of your tax return, whichever is later. Always consult your tax-preparer if you have questions. Receipts, not related to refunds or extended warranties, can be set aside for shredding. Mail or any old documents with your name, address, or other personal information that is not needed for tax purposes probably needs to go.
Start shredding Now that you're ready to start shredding, you should practice safe measures of disposal! This doesn't mean tearing the documents in half and taking them to the curb! Instead, use a home shredder that cross cuts your documents. If your shredder is not equipped to take on staples, cardstock, binding, or other metal, be careful to remove them from the paper to avoid damaging the blades and prolong the life of your shredder. If you have a lot of sensitive documents, look online or ask around for a community shred event near you.
Secure it Sensitive documents such as passports, birth certificates, and social security cards should be locked up in a fire-proof filing cabinet or lockbox. Any documents that need held indefinitely or for extended periods of time should be placed alongside. It can not only keep them safe, but help you remember where they are stored when everything is in one, manageable location.
Too much hassle?
If storing, sorting, and taking the time to destroy all your important documents is too much of a hassle, check into e-document services. Central Sunbelt'sCloud Documents holds important financial documents in a secured manner for up to 12 months with real-time delivery and easy access anytime by computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Other services like SmartVault or DropBox will allow you to hold any document; receipt, tax documents, statements, etc. online in a secured environment indefinitely.
A little planning this spring, alongside your traditional cleaning, can set you up for a great financial year!