Being financially organized in the 21st century can be simple and easy. However, it may take some time. Moreover, my articles and videos are for people who are serious about making smart choices with their money. Therefore, even though this article will be a bit detailed, for serious people, I am sure they will appreciate it.
Organization. There’s often a joke image of successful people being unorganized and scatter-brained. For example, imagine the mythical messy desk of a genius scientist. Or the messy car of a successful traveling salesman.
But in fact, this image isn’t quite accurate. Successful people are organized. Particularly when it comes to their chosen profession! Their thoughts are organized. Their work is organized. And their processes for getting things done are organized. And whether they do it themselves or they delegate it to someone else, things get organized.
It’s the same with financial planning. People who make smart choices with their money are financially organized first and foremost. And if they’re not, they know they need to be better organized and seek out help with that. If you’re a successful person with an organized professional life, but disorganized personal finances, you probably just had an “a ha” moment. When you realize that succeeding in personal finance is not a mystery. it just involves discipline, planning and maybe success coaching.
Sometimes Our Imagined Walls Keep Us From Realizing the Benefits
Maybe you’re like me. I know personally I have accomplished something in one field. However, sometimes I have not seen how the same principles apply in other areas of my life. Consequently, I often have these “a-ha” moments once I realize (again) that success traits from one area of my life are transferable across disciplines and subjects.
Let’s Put Financial Organization into Practice
With all of that said, Let’s start organizing. In the rest of this article, I will share:
- What data and documents should be organized.
- Some examples of how being organized can help in specific situations.
- And, how to go about actually getting organized in a 21st century manner.
Financially Organized – What Documents and Data Should be Organized and Aggregated
Here is a handy starter list of what to consider storing including both documents (like a will) and data (like recent account balances):
- Legal documents: will, health care proxy, power of attorney, trust.
- Loan documents: Original mortgage application, cost statement, first mortgage statement (titles).
- Insurance: life insurance policies or fact sheets, auto insurance summary, homeowners insurance declaration page. Also consider a video walkthrough of your house for insurance claim proof.
- Investments and Savings: data aggregated to easily get an accurate balance sheet, investment allocation breakdown, ownership and beneficiaries of accounts.
- Videos and audio legacy to the family – if you want a safe place to store your last words, leave a video for the family to be shown after your death.
- Business set up papers: Articles of incorporation, IRS TIN letter.
- For a complete list of documents and items to store, Download this PDF here.
Why Get Financially Organized
First off, when you’re organized, it’s easy to know what you have. It’s much easier to see your entire financial planning picture. Having assets liabilities, income, insurances, legal docs (etc.) in one place makes it easier to track your progress toward your financial goals.
Practical Benefits of financial organization – Some Examples
- Comparing proposed policies to your current coverage come renewal time.
- If you are in a legal or insurance situation and need access to documents.
- Easily sharing your up to date health care proxy with your primary care physician.
- Retrieving a backup of your personal identification when traveling.
Benefits for your Family
There is no way to calculate the benefit of your affairs being organized. For example, what if you became disabled? And what if you passed away? Could your family easily manage your affairs? Furthermore, another example: imagine that you are the spouse that runs the household. Would your spouse be a bit confused if you weren’t available?
Making Financial Organization a Reality – Software Tools
I’d recommend using a secure online aggregating and storage software service. Even though, A few companies do something like this, I will focus on Emoney’s EMX platform. Because that’s the one we use and are most familiar with. However, feel free to take these features and test them against whichever company you choose to use. For a quick primer on Emoney, go to this video here.
Some of the key features of a solid secure online data aggregator and important document vault such as Emoney include:
- Security: 256 bit encryption (data is encrypted to prevent interception and cracking).
- Privacy: data and documents are not share-able with the public. Also account login information is not stored on the digital portal. It’s simply a data feed.
- All accounts of every type can be aggregated to give you an up to date complete picture all the time.
- Secure document storage.
- Easy access for the actual owner. Specifically, We want it tough to break in but easy for you the user to login!
Get Financially Organized! Taking Action
We’ve discussed the what, why and how. And It’s now time to take action. Therefore, here is a summary of the steps to take:
- Get your data and documents together. Download the complete list PDF for help.
- Diligently store and aggregate all of your data. Consider Emoney if you have no one else in mind.
- Put appropriate alerts in place for data changes that would be important to you.
- And monitor your financial picture 2-4 times per year.
Would you like some help getting organized? If so, maybe we can help. We believe that getting organized is the first step in putting a financial plan in place. Moreover, if you feel the same, feel free reaching out to me via my contact form here.
Thank you for reading!
Chris Grande & team