While the year is still young, take some time to organize your financial life
Now that the holidays are sufficiently behind us, are you ready to get your finances in order for 2011? If so, here are some tips to get started:
- Create a budget. By setting and tracking income and expense categories, you not only keep your current finances organized, you can also set the wheels in motion for reaching long-term goals like buying a new house or financing college.
- Make it automatic. You’ll have fewer details to worry about by automating as many financial chores as possible. For example, you may be able to eliminate trips to the bank with automatic payroll deposit. Automating your monthly bills for things like cable, electricity and trash removal can also save you hours of valuable free time each month.
- Inventory your assets. A financial inventory provides a useful snapshot of your assets so you can understand where you are now and what you must do to reach your goals.
- File important documents. In addition to your financial inventory, keep other important documents like tax returns and statements from investment accounts organized and accessible. You’ll also want to keep insurance policies, wills, trust documents and other important paperwork safe and available to those who may need them.
- Computerize the process. There are a variety of software packages and on-line resources available to help you keep your financial life organized. Most of them are very inexpensive – and some are even free.
With the basics in order, you can focus more clearly on all the things you’d like to accomplish in 2011.
James C. Hanna, CFP®, MBA, Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner. Advisor is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana.
Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients.
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