Every one of you might have come across a situation at least once in your life when you frantically search for an important document, which you think you had kept it in the right place, but cannot find it out at the right time. This doesn’t mean that you don’t keep your documents carefully but you don’t know how to keep them rightly organized. Go through this article to know how to organize your documents so that you can take them out in the blink of an eye.
1.Categorize your important documents – The first step to organize is to gather all your documents and divide them into 3 groups – items to discard, dead storage and active file.
a) Active file: Your active file should contain documents which you need on regular basis. This includes your credit card information, bank statements, educational records, employment records, health benefit information, tax receipts, family health records, list of your passwords, etc.
b) Documents to discard: You need to discard documents on regular basis in order to organize your important documents carefully. It goes without saying that you should discard documents which you no longer require. This includes documents of expired warranties, manuals of those appliances which you no longer use, your old pay stubs, cancelled checks, etc. If you want you might keep some of these documents; however, you should keep them separately.
c) Dead storage: Your dead storage might include certain file papers which you might not require now might need it in the future. This can include manuals of appliances you do not use usually, financial statements which are more than 3 years old, etc. You need to take out time and decide on these items carefully.
2.Organize your files – After you differentiate your documents, it is the time to organize your files in order.
a) Home file: Your home file should consist of documents which you require almost every day. You need to keep your bank statements, credit card and other bills, warranties of appliances, etc.
b) Safe deposit box: You should keep certain documents such as, passports, birth certificates, vehicle titles, etc. probably in a fireproof and waterproof safe deposit box, since these documents are difficult to be replaced. However, make sure the xerox copies of these documents are handy at home because you might need to refer to them frequently.
c) Documents stored electronically: It is a good option to store documents electronically since it is the best way to keep your important documents. To do so, you need to scan your documents and store them. It is better to make your family members familiar with how you’re keeping these documents so that anyone can access them when required. You can also keep back-ups by sending e-mails to your immediate family members.
While arranging your documents, it should also be your concern to avoid being a victim of identity theft. Therefore, do not share your personal and valuable information with others, apart from your immediate family members. Also, do not open unknown links from your e-mails which say to click on a link from your bank. If you need to click, visit your bank’s website and login to view the information. This is because the fraudsters send such mails with links directing to a fake website resembling with that of your bank’s website. Also review your credit card statements carefully to check out whether or not there are any transactions which are not yours. If there’s any, immediately report it to your credit card company and/or your bank and report of fraud activity on your card.
If required, you can take help of a financial adviser in order to organize your documents and keep them in a safe and secure place. Also your financial adviser can help you divide your documents in groups from the most important to the least important one, which in turn, will help you manage your finances efficiently.