For me, the fall is always the time when I feel the organizational pull. Back to school time has always been a joyful time for me. I remember all my new pencils and notebooks. As a child I loved making crisp new book covers out of paper grocery sacks for all of my textbooks. Somehow, having everything in it’s place helped me think more clearly as I studied away at my times tables and spelling lists.
As I grew up, that feeling never left me. As I became a mom and had kids in school, back to school time became a moment to catch my breath and recover from the clutter of summer fun. Now, with my kids mostly self-sufficient, as the air turns a bit cooler and the yellow school buses start rolling around the neighborhood, I still get the itch to get organized.
This year I have focused my de-cluttering energy on household finance. Starting my own financial planning firm this summer I found it easy to get the home office organized with a fresh clean start. Now as fall beckons, I am taking a look at the pieces of my personal financial life that have taken a back seat. Time to roll up my sleeves and clear the clutter!
Here are the steps I am taking to get my financial house in order this fall:
1. Filing cabinet blues?
Mine was overly stuffed. I used this helpful guide to tame the mess. Once I made a big purge (see step 2), I made sure my files were clearly labeled and in good order.
2. Shredding my way to a more paper-free future.
I love my shredder! Before I purchased my first shredder I used to go through every bit of mail and all purged old documents and tear out identifying information before recycling the rest. I have a bin of garden worms out back who would take care of some of my paper, but they can only process so much. Finally I made the big move to a real home office shredder and have never looked back!
3. Corral the chaos of accounts and passwords.
The time has come for most of us to consider a password manager. There are many to choose from. I suggest doing your research and making the switch, especially if you are still using the same password for everything or keeping them written in crayon on the back of an old envelope!
4. Credit check-up because you can never be too careful!
Follow up on this one often! After the Equifax security breach, we all need to be diligent about our own credit monitoring. Remind your adult children, parents, friends and neighbors do do the same.
5. The intrepid insurance review.
It is a good idea to pull out your policies and make sure you are properly covered. Review your deductibles, liability coverage, term life insurance and more. This is a great topic to look at with your financial planner just to make sure you are covering your bases.
6. Dust off the estate plan for peace of mind.
When was the last time you had your estate plan reviewed by an attorney? If you do not have any estate planning in place, now is the time to get going! Laws change over time and so do people’s lives. We should all be sure we have the proper titling, beneficiary, power of attorney, health care proxy and guardianship provisions in place.