Financial organization is a priority in my life and I thoroughly enjoy the process of sorting through and updating my important documents. However, I do understand that organizing one’s paperwork is the absolute “worst way to spend the day” for many, which is how I feel about cleaning out my basement. It might feel good to get it done, but I often forget and frequently find “more important things” that need my attention. Knowing that I can readily locate my tax information; have my estate documents in order and in a safe place; and know the balances in my bank and investment accounts provides a high level of comfort to me. If there are any issues, I can track things down fairly easily since I reconcile my accounts on a regular basis. But I realize that others don’t particularly care about this, and find it a hassle to do at all, much less maintain, so I would like to suggest the following 3 reasons to get financially organized.
It has been proven that too much stress in our lives causes physical and emotional illness, including high blood pressure, anxiety, chest pain and susceptibility to colds and other viruses. I know of many people who have spent hours looking for financial documents, (especially during tax time) only to come up empty handed. Replacing the necessary document(s) often requires numerous phone calls or in-person appointments to various agencies, but most importantly, it isadditional time spent doing exactly what you didn't want to do in the first place!
Keeping track of one’s financial statements is crucial. Over the years, I have found numerous errors on bank statements, and have had to request refunds or investigations into these. I regularly check credit statements carefully and have found errors. I will request a review and can often get this corrected and the money returned within a few days. When there is a dispute, I am able to keep the credit on my account until it is resolved. This year, one of my most gratifying moments was when I was able to submit additional documentation to a client’s accountant, who was doing her taxes. This information resulted in a $9,000+ refund check to her for 2013. Because I had her bank statements in order, I was also able to submit the previous 3 years of statements, and she received an additional several thousand dollars for those years of over payment. Oftentimes, it is as simple as checking to see if the amounts being charged are correct, or maybe, as in the case of cable or cell phone costs, they can be lowered by just speaking with an agent.
Finally, for many of my clients, having the knowledge that their affairs are in order allows them to enjoy life to the fullest, without worrying that their adult children, family members or others will have to spend countless hours looking for the necessary documents to finalize an estate or make important medical and/or financial decisions. As I enjoy the last few days of a wonderful vacation, looking out at the beautiful foliage and the majestic Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of MI, I know that my decision to eliminate debt and become financially organized, has allowed me to be in this place today. I am at peace, and so deeply appreciative for each day! Being debt-free and financially organized won’t guarantee happiness, but for me, it’s certainly played a big part!
Beautiful Fall Colors in the U.P. This picture was photographed by our friend, Jim Erickson[/caption]
6709 Raymond Road, Suite 198
Madison, WI 53719