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Spring cleaning your financial paper files

Spring is in the air and you may be thinking of cleaning closets and windows, but what about your financial cupboards? 

As personal finance TV host Suze Orman has said, “Orderliness begets wealth.” She says that when you consciously manage your bills and statements, you are connecting with your money and taking control of your life.

Our team thinks that’s great advice. With that in mind, we’ve listed some steps to help you tidy up your financial files and better manage them throughout the year:

Tax returns: CRA says that generally speaking, taxpayers should keep supporting documents for six years and have the receipts and documentation to support your claims ready, in case you are selected for review. 

Bills and statements: Consider receiving and/or storing electronic bills and statements from utilities, cable companies, banks and other service providers. You could selectively print copies to minimize your paper files, perhaps once a year or when there is a change in services or charges. 

Receipts and warranties:
 Keep routine receipts for 1-2 months, perhaps in an accordion folder with 12 pockets for each month. Then toss them, with the exception of major purchases or those covered by warranties. For active warranties, discard the paper manuals if they are available online. 

Policy statements: Safely store policy statements for home, auto and life and disability insurance, as well as the deed to your home and titles to your vehicles. Take photos of valuable assets that could be included in an insurance claim.

Important personal documents: Keep documents such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, wills, mementos, etc., in a safe place and let your family know where it is.  

To help manage your paperwork, we recommend a fire- and water-resistant home safe or file container that you could grab in an emergency. A paper shredder to minimize the risk of identity theft is also a good investment.

A financial spring cleaning brings clarity and control into your life just as a home spring cleaning can do. If you’d like to take the “clean sweep” further with a review of your wealth management plan, please give us a call. We can ensure you have the optimal solutions in place for your banking, risk management; estate planning and investment needs, and help identify opportunities to simplify your financial life.

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