Sunday, September 19, 2010

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I haven't done too much lately other than domestic chores. After the move, a lot of my paperwork has been shuffled to one place or the other, stuffed in boxes and even plastic grocery bags (I kid you not) so I spent the better part of last week dealing with that. With all the bills, statements and other documents now entering the home front, people are absolutely drowning in paperwork. I wish I knew the perfect way to go about doing this little chore, but I don't think there is one really, other than just doing it. Personal finance is tough. You have to keep up with it somewhat or it can get overwhelming. I don't think this is one of life's lessons that's handed down from parent to child, and we don't get it in school either. They teach economics, marketing, and accounting, but not really personal finance, and I think they should. There should be a high school elective course in this subject. Perhaps some progressive high schools offer this, but I suspect that most overlook it. It's a shame too as this is probably one of the reasons most people live off of credit card balances, have declared bankruptcy, don't save a dime for a rainy day, don't know diddle about stocks, IRAs, and ways to save and invest their hard earned money; and causes the overall economy to sag.

But no matter where you fit into the overall scheme of the economy, the good thing is to practice good savings, watch your spending, and learn to organize one's personal finance. At least you'll be proactive, and that's a start, and I think it makes you feel better once you do some of this stuff.

Deciding what to toss can be a difficult decision. It helps to have a paper shredder too, so you can shred those unwanted credit card statements and paperwork. Here are some tips I've found to make your life and this challenge easier:

Toss it:
Phone bills
Grocery receipts
Utility bills (After you've looked at them.)

Save it for a year:
Canceled checks
Store receipts
Credit card statements

Save it for three years:
Bank statements
Short-term warranties

Save it forever:
Loan agreements
Receipts for major purchases
Tax returns and forms
Insurance policies
Home inventory
School transcripts
Diplomas
Passports
Social security cards
Marriage certificate

Once you decide what to save, make a commitment to keep it organized and filed away, and set up some system (file cabinet, etc.) so you are able to review it from time to time--you'll be on the road to successful personal finance. Not only will this make things more accessible and secure, your house will be rid of the little stacks of paper that threaten to take over! (Easier said than done, I know.) If you wish to further your knowledge in personal finance, there are many good books. One I highly recommend is: You Have More Than You Think by David and Tom Gardner. They also have a web site at: www.fool.com There are many other personal finance gurus with books or TV shows, which you might find of interest like Suze Orman, Jim Cramer, Clark Howard, and many others. You just have to find one that fits your needs.

4 Comments:

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I agree about the marriage certificate. It will always be something you can use, regardless of one's actual marital status:

a) Happily married - run around town waving it in the air.

b) Divorced - scrawl nasty messages all over it and frame it on the wall.

Everyone's happy.

 
At 7:44 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Well, I hope everyone's happy...I don't know if that's always the case, in both scenerios, but either way, probably a good thing to hold onto.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger wrightdp said...

Good rules on thumb and a great starting place. First decide what you're going to save and for how long. Something that I'd add, the things you're going to toss, I invest in a shredder. You never know who might go thru your trash for credit card accts or whatever.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yep, definitely big shredder here for credit cards statements, and anything else I think might fall into the wrong hands. There's probably so many ways with computers, xerox machines, and other ways to get ripped off, but you just have to cover your tracks as much as you can.

 

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