April’s Financial To-Dos

April’s Financial To-Dos

Based on Morningstar’s Financial To-Do List, we’re offering a few tasks each month for tackling what can seem like an overwhelming project: getting or keeping your financial house in order.

A seemingly impossible battle can be won by focusing on just a few tasks at a time. Choose one or more of the following things to get done this month.

Make a Master Directory

Last month, we recommended creating an inventory of your major personal possessions to aid in potential insurance claims. This month, consider building a Master Directory document to store all important financial information. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet with helpful details that someone would need if taking over your finances for you (such as in a medical emergency).

The directory should include details such as a list of accounts, location of important documents (like wills & birth certificates), professional contacts (attorney, financial advisor, CPA), and login information for accounts. It would be wise to list credit cards and the customer service numbers that need to be contacted if the card gets stolen or lost.

Since much of this data will be highly sensitive, make sure it’s securely stored or password protected, and that a key loved one (ideally your Power of Attorney) knows how to access this when needed.

Go paperless with your personal finances

It’s common for the home office to get cluttered and unorganized. Now is a great time to do some “spring cleaning” and sort through files to get things under control. This helpful sheet from Morningstar is a great reminder of what to keep, what to recycle, and what to shred.

Feeling buried by hard copies as you organize? Consider reducing how much paper you receive in the first place. Start by opting into e-delivery for statements from banks and investment custodians. And since many of these paper statement deliveries come with an extra charge, you will not only save paper, but fees as well.

Have a shredding party

While sorting your files, you may discover some documents you don’t want to keep anymore. If you have unneeded papers with sensitive information on them, April is a great month to gather them all up and get some shredding done. This worksheet is a great resource for knowing how long you should keep documents such as tax returns and receipts.

If the amount of shredding is significant, look for a “shred-a-thon” event near you. These are usually hosted by a city or company that brings in an industrial sized shredder for the community to use. For instance, ProShred occasionally hosts Document Shredding Days in Overland Park.

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