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Keeping Financial Matters Organized in Retirement

A lot of planning goes into retirement. You can work for decades squirreling away money, analyzing the stock market and building a 401K. You may even have a few one-on-one conversations with a financial planner.

As soon as you clock out for the last time you can sit back and start relaxing into retirement. In a perfect world that would be the case, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

It’s never, ever a good idea to slack off on financial management in retirement. This is a time when tight budgeting is needed most. All that planning was to ensure you had enough to retire on while maintaining your lifestyle. Now it’s up to you to keep spending under control and everything in order.

Don’t worry. Managing your financial matters doesn’t have to be a second job in retirement. There are tools you can use and systems that can be put in place to do most of the work for you.

Clear Out the Filing Cabinet

Start getting organized by clearing out the unnecessary clutter. If you’re like most people, you’re probably holding on to a lot of old, outdated paperwork. It can pile up for years and make it more difficult to find the financial documents that really do matter.

The IRS has created an overview for how long to keep records based on the period of limitations for income tax returns. The general rule of thumb is to keep tax-related information for up to seven years.

Documents that are connected to a loan, property, stocks or ownership of another asset should be kept until you are no longer the owner. However, monthly statements can be shredded after they no longer apply for taxes. Keep the clutter under control in the future by signing up for an online account and going paperless.

Make an Electronic Copy

If you’re worried that you may need something somewhere down the line make an electronic copy. You can snap a picture with your smartphone or scan documents with an app. Once that’s done email the image or scanned document to yourself so there’s another copy online.

Create a List of All Accounts and Assets

While you are going through the file cabinet create a list of all your accounts. Make sure to note:

  • The names of the people on the account.
  • The financial institution connected to the account.
  • Account login information
  • Balances on the account.
  • Amount owed or paid monthly.
  • Contact information for an account manager or representative.

Financial experts also recommend that retirees create a list of all assets. The list can be used for insurance purposes and additional income. If there ever comes a time when you need money you can turn to your list of assets to decide what to liquidate.

Keep Your Insurance Policies Up-to-Date

All types of insurance from auto insurance to final expense insurance should be reviewed annually. If anything has changed or you want to choose another beneficiary contact your insurer. Keeping policies up-to-date ensures that you have adequate coverage and you or your contacts can easily be reached.

It’s a good idea to use a memorable date as your reminder to review and update your insurance policies. For instance, make it a resolution to update policies the first week of January.

Use the Mint App to Track Daily Spending

Discretionary spending is what gets some retirees in financial trouble. All the small purchases here and there add up. One of the easiest ways to track your spending is the Mint app.

For years the Mint app has offered free, simple tools for tracking purchases by syncing your bank account information. Each time you use a credit card or a debit card to make a purchase it will automatically get logged in the app. The Mint app will also categorize spending and let you set goals. The app will send alerts if you get close to overspending during a month.

Shoeboxed is another efficient app for expense tracking. Instead of syncing your accounts you can take pictures of receipts to store the information.

These are just a few key financial management tips for retirement. You’ll also need to create a monthly budget and revisit it often to make sure your finances stay on track.

Peter Christopher

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