Getting Your Share (October, 2012)
October 1, 2012Getting Your Financial House in Order
One of the easiest things you can do for yourself is to keep your financial house in order and the way to do it is to get organized. Having your financial information stored and processed in a systematic manner will go a long way in helping maintain your finances.
As part of a life transition process I often advise my clients to consider the importance of getting their finances in order. Know your financial picture. Know what you have, where it is, and select a finance expert to guide you with a life plan. I recommend clients consider the following:
1) Select a Financial Planner
A planner can outline for you better ways to handle your budget, cash flow, debts and investment programs.
2) Check your Credit History
Take a look at your credit reports and review your credit history. Don’t assume your credit is good. Check with credit reporting bureaus and review their reports. This can be done without charge. Ask your financial planner how. It is a good idea to do this annually.
3) Organize your Financial Documents
Organize in files, and clearly label all your financial documents. Color code your files and get super organized. Create a master list with account numbers, contacts, balances, payments, debts and loans. Document Safe Deposit Boxes, get copies of titles for Real Estate and titles for Automobiles.
Consider the following:
Money Market Accounts
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Social Security Benefits
4) Organize all the other important documents
A) If you are married:
Have copies of your pre-marital agreement or prenuptial agreements / marriage certificates.
B) If divorced:
Have a copy of your Separation Agreement and Judgment of Divorce.
C) Estate Planning Documents:
This includes copies of:
Power of Attorney
D) If you are still working:
Organize work related items:
E) Do you know what and where your debts are? And the interest rate?
Credit Card Bills
F) Do you know what insurance policies you have?
G) Are you aware of and have documentation for other valuables in your life?
Remember being organized not only helps you, it can also help your heirs.
In the event that something happens to you, the organized financial documents can tremendously help those who will be taking care of your affairs after you’re gone. This can streamline the settling of your estate. If you have a will, it is also important to have a letter of instruction so that the executor knows where to find these documents.
Affectionately referred to as “The DIVORCE Doctor” Lois Brenner is a Divorce Attorney for over 30 years, an accredited Mediator, and a licensed Physician Assistant with training in Psychology. Lois Brenner is the Author of Getting Your Share, a book on divorce published by Crown. She has written for and has been quoted by The New York Times and New York Magazine. Lois Brenner has been interviewed on national television programs such as “Oprah,” “Good Morning America” and CNN as a family law expert. Ms. Brenner is in private practice with offices in New York and Connecticut.
To reach Lois Brenner call 212.734.1551; send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.divorcelawyerny.com. To Retire or Not to Retire?