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Get your financial papers in order

Ever forgot to pay a bill? Are your bank statements buried under heaps of paper in your kitchen?

Ever forgot to pay a bill? Are your bank statements buried under heaps of paper in your kitchen? It’s hard to keep your financial life on track and set goals for the future without organization.

Many online banks have recently developed money trackers which help you categorize and analyze your budget, expenses, savings and net worth, automatically rolling the information into slick-looking pie charts and spreadsheets. These user friendly platforms also keep track of important dates like when your mortgage is up for renewal. My favourite part about them is they’re free for online banking customers.

You might run into some snags if you’ve got money scattered across multiple banks. Try to consolidate accounts so you’re dealing with one or two institutions. Not only will this prevent disorganization, you'll also save on banking fees.

Unless you’ve gone totally digital, you’re receiving important documents by mail – insurance and bank statements, health records, bills, education records, certificates, receipts, etc. Don’t chuck these in the trash. You might need them for taxes, audits, or proving to a future employer you’ve completed high school.

Separate the paper into file folders with categories like ‘utility bills’ or ‘RRSP statements.’ Then, store them in a basic filing cabinet, you can pick up a cabinet on eBay or Craigslist for less than $50. Order files alphabetically or numerically by date. Avoid files labelled ‘other’ because they’ll become a dumping ground where you can’t find anything.

If your finances are hopelessly disorganized, hire a financial advisor to help get you back on track.

 
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