September 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm #1143
I am the paperwork person in my house. I let my husband take care of the taxes one year, and we paid way too much to a preparer because he wouldn’t do it himself.
Since then (we’ve been married 13 years), I have taken over all the bills and investments. That said, I am not the most organized person in the world. I keep the bills paid on time, but I don’t check up on our retirement accounts every month. My file cabinet is sort of organized with a system only I would understand.
Working through my SUM 180 interview helped me take a few steps toward improving this situation. I had to find all the numbers and the accounts and the passwords to collect my financial info in one place.
Here is what I did to prepare for my SUM 180 interview – which had the side benefit of improving my organizational system.
Collecting this information before working through your interview will make the process go easier for you too.
Here is what I recommend.
Download bank statements
I switched banks recently and the default choice for new accounts is electonic banking. I had to pay more to receive paper statements, so obviously I chose the electronic approach. My bank also has an “analyze your spending” tool, so I have tagged all my expenses – mortgage, groceries, kid expenses, etc.
I downloaded three months’ worth of data and that gave me a good snapshot of my spending.
Find your last tax return
I’ve used Turbo Tax for the last several years, so this one was easy.
Collect all retirement account information
This one actually look the longest to do. I realized all my accounts were on electronic delivery. All my husband’s accounts were still paper. I have a file folder now that tells me where to find everything I need. I also have a “to do” list that includes switching everything to electronic delivery.
Start a file folder
Obviously I am a fan of the Internet and online everything, but I still use pen and paper. A lot. In fact, I keep my SUM 180 file folder out on my desk. It has a handwritten list of all of my family’s savings accounts. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to see how far we’ve come. It also motivates me to keep up with my saving habits and to cut my monthly spending so I can boost my vacation and retirement accounts.