No matter how much money you have, it’s important to know where it is and where it’s going. Maybe you’ve been good at managing your finances since your piggy bank days, but many of us don’t start thinking about it seriously until we’re planning for retirement. If you’re in that second group, don’t worry…it’s never too late to start building better money habits!Being financially organized isn’t just about being frugal or making good investment choices. It’s also about documentation. Keeping clear records can simplify life a lot, not only for you, but also for your family if you were to pass away. Losing a loved one is already stressful, and when a grieving family is faced with the task of untangling money mysteries that stress level can rise exponentially.
We’re here to offer a few simple ideas for tidying up your finances and boosting your peace of mind!
Even if you opened your first bank account long before depositing checks with a smartphone camera and getting money management tips via email were options, it can be easy to let record-keeping slide as more and more aspects of our daily lives shift to an online format. After all, isn’t everything out there on the Internet somewhere? While the answer may be, “Yes, probably,” the key word is “somewhere.” Think about how frustrating it can be when you forget a password or misplace an important file…then think about how much harder that could be if you were trying to recover someone else’s information, and you didn’t even know where to begin.
It can take months for family members to put the financial puzzle together after a loved one passes, and there may always be a few missing pieces. A simple filing system can help prevent a lot of headaches. While it might seem outdated, and your kids might even make a few jokes about it now, a cardboard file box (or better yet, a fireproof version) full of neatly organized hard copies of your most important documents can be invaluable when the time comes.
An Easy Plan for Hard Copies
To get started, you may want to make a list of all your bank accounts, insurance policies, investments, and important personal information, along with relevant contacts (attorney, financial advisor, etc.) and applicable usernames and passwords. Putting all your account information and contacts in one (safe) place means that whether you need to sign into an account you haven’t checked on in a while, or your family is trying to sort out your finances after your passing, there’s no scramble to track down what’s needed.
Gather important documents such as property titles, insurance policies, birth certificates, etc. Create labeled envelopes or folders for each relevant category. For example:
- Checking & savings accounts
- Investments & retirement accounts
- Income tax records
- Property records
- Insurance policies (life, health, home, auto, etc.)
- Personal documents (birth certificate, living will, etc.)
- Legacy (will, funeral wishes/prearrangements, etc.)
Once you’ve organized everything, store it in a safe place, then inform the appropriate people exactly where they can find it if they should need to. We suggest telling at least two trusted family members. If you have a personal financial advisor, you may wish to tell that person as well, or even leave copies with them.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to update the contents of your folders periodically, so you may want to add reminders to your calendar for monthly, quarterly, or annual reviews. You can help avoid clutter and confusion by replacing old statements with the most recent ones.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Wait a minute…I actually love technology! I don’t want to print out a bunch of papers and put them in a box, no matter how organized and updated and color coded they might be.”
If that sounds like you, don’t worry…you could also use a virtual version of that fireproof file box! Using an online estate planning service like Everplans allows you to gather all your important documents, contacts, account logins, etc. into one web-based platform. In addition to being a great tool for organizing your financial information, Everplans offers space to store everything from funeral personalization plans to pet care instructions…all the little details that often get overlooked.
Financial organization and financial planning work hand-in-hand to help ensure your loved ones are better protected after you’re gone. The first concern many families face following a loss is paying for the funeral, which is no trivial expense at an average of $8,000-10,000. A final expense life insurance policy could help cover some of that cost and may help lessen the financial burden on the people you love as they say a very difficult goodbye.
To begin the process of getting final expense coverage, get a no-obligation quote from Final Wishes Covered℠ today. From there, our trusted agents can help guide you toward a plan that best meets your budget, your needs, and your priorities. Final expense life insurance may be just one of the many components involved in better protecting your family’s financial future, but every puzzle piece makes it a little easier to see the big picture.
Ready to get started? Visit us at finalwishescovered.com or give us a call at 888-432-7066.