So we’re over the hump and the warmer days of spring are on their way. Make the most of your renewed energy by investing a little time in organizing your paperwork and getting your finances back on track and you’ll reap the rewards in terms of financial peace of mind to say nothing of less hassle when it comes to filing your tax return next year!
Week One – Filling in the Gaps
Monday: getting started
The secret to getting to grips with your financial situation is to get organized to start with.
- Invest in some plastic bins and files and choose a space where you can keep all your financial documents neatly together.
- Gather up all those financial papers that are spilling out of drawers or piled high on your desk.
- Organize them logically according to category (bank statements, taxes, investment information) and chronology so that you can methodically work your way through and get a full overview of where you stand, financially, today.
Don’t forget to do the same on your computer with your electronic files.
- Is your personal finance ‘stuff’ overflowing your electronic desktop? Create a new folder for each category and put every document in its rightful place.
- Don’t forget to print out hard copies of the important documents that other people may need to consult who don’t always have the same access to your computer.
Get rid of any documentation you simply don’t need – remembering to shred any document that could expose you to identity theft if it gets in the wrong hands.
Tuesday: Start organizing next year’s tax return NOW!
Remember how just a few short weeks ago you were frantically looking for documents to back up your tax return? Avoid that stress this year by organizing the paperwork you’ll need for the forthcoming year’s assessment now.
- Put previous tax returns and filings into chronological order so that they are ready at hand if you ever need to answer questions from the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Set up a system for organizing receipts, statements, pay slips, etc, so that you’ll know where to find them when they are needed.
Wednesday: Double check your bank statements:
- Take a look at all of your bank statements to be sure that you are not being overcharged for services, unusual transactions, etc
- Make an appointment to discuss any suspicious discrepancies with your branch manager.
- Talk to your bank to see how you can reduce bank service fees – perhaps by setting up a less expensive service package or consolidating accounts.
Thursday: Review your mortgage documents:
- Do you know where you stand with your mortgage? Are you aware how much is going into the principle and how much to interest?
- Could you afford to pay more to your mortgage and so cancel it more quickly?
- Are the terms of your mortgage still the most appropriate for your current financial situation or is it time to look for a better deal?
- Do you even know when your mortgage comes up for renewal? Write this date at the front of your mortgage file where it is easy to find.
- Perhaps now is a good moment to talk to the experts at Best Mortgage Montreal to find out if this spring would be the right time to negotiate a better low-interest mortgage deal or even to find a new lender.
Friday: Review your investment documents:
- Make sure you know how all of your investments are performing. Organize your papers according to each investment and make a point of finding out about the performance of each one.
- Create a quick crib sheet for the front of each file listing renewal and maturity dates and a brief sentence or two on performance to date. This will jog your memory when you next come to take a look.
- Get rid of all those quarterly or monthly statements that are gathering dust and just keep the latest annual summary – and be sure to read it through.
If you manage to follow these five steps in the first week you have made a great start and already probably have a better grip on your personal finances landscape.
Take the weekend off, relax and let your new-found knowledge sink in so that you can come back to tackle week two of your financial spring clean with renewed energy.
Best Mortgage Montreal: tailoring low-interest mortgage and other financing packages with your best interests at heart.
Telephone 1 (514) 994-1030 or 1 (514) 819-9181
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