This week I am focussing on tidying up all the financial documents such as statements, contracts and invoices. The aim is to file your paperwork in such a way that you can find the required documents easily and with the least amount of time.
How to organise your financial paperwork:
- Sort all your financial papers into categories: bank and card statements, insurance papers, contracts, etc.
- Check each paper carefully. Only keep papers, which have a clear purpose. Discard the rest.
- The papers that you keep can be divided into 2 categories: Papers you need to action and papers you need to file.
- Place papers you need to action in an in-tray or in a magazine holder, with a short note, stating what you need to do e.g. phone or pay a company. Complete your in-tray on a weekly basis.
- File all the papers in the relevant folders and create new folders if needed.
- Ideally switch over to electronic statements and save each company under a labelled folder within your email inbox. Make sure your emails are stored in the cloud.
- Keep monthly statements for up to 24 months and thereafter discard them. This might be useful when you have to submit your annual tax.
- Many of the big banks allow you to access electronic statements for up to 7 years.
- Create a tax folder for each tax year and store all your tax-deductible receipts, invoices and tax related communication in this folder.
- Keep your tax returns for up to 7 years.
- Legal documents should be kept permanently.
- Keep all records of your house and car purchase, registration, maintenance invoices, etc. You will need these when you plan to sell.
- Discard all grocery and entertainment receipts for which you cannot be reimbursed.
- Keep clothing receipts for a month and those for expensive clothing items for up to 24 months. E.g. should the zip of your coat become faulty, you can claim your money back if you kept your receipt. Store all clothing related receipts in an envelope and place it in your cupboard.
“Make space for what matters.”
Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme