Each minute, we are receiving new bits of information, tasks, or physical items that must be dealt with. As such, organization is an ongoing, evolving process that is never quite complete. Organizing your financial matters often means sorting through and categorizing physical or digital documents.
David Allen’s method, Getting Things Done, can be applied to help organize your financial matters.
1. Capture. Gather all your financial documents and to-do items into a single location, either physical or digital. Ensure that all records and all items you consider incomplete are also represented.
- If you are comfortable with digital filing systems but still have several paper records, consider scanning the documents you want to keep and shredding the paper version. This will help de-clutter your physical space.
- While digitizing historical records, you should also login to your bank and brokerage accounts online and opt-in to receiving electronic statements and confirmations. This will reduce the quantity of physical documents to capture, clarify, and organize in the future.
2. Clarify and Organize. Clarify each item by asking yourself “what is it?” and “is it actionable?”. Organize records, documents, and to-do items into appropriate folders or categories.
- If the item is not actionable but is important, you may need to store the record. Create historical record folders for items such as tax returns and investment reports. The IRS recommends that tax records be maintained for three to seven years. Any older documents can be shredded. You may maintain this filing system either physically or digitally – whichever you prefer.
- If the item is actionable, determine if it will be a multi-step project or if it is something that can be completed in under two minutes. If a to-do item can be done in under two minutes, do it. Otherwise, the to-do item or project can be deferred until you are ready to address it. Ensure that these future items are stored somewhere you will reference back to regularly.
3. Reflect. Look back to the to-do items and projects you have organized in step two. Are you ready to address any of these tasks or projects? It is important to reflect on outstanding items regularly – Allen suggests reflecting weekly. You may find it helpful to quickly review the priority of the remaining tasks and projects to ensure that items with a pressing deadline are addressed promptly.
4. Engage. Allen states that there is always more to do than you can do which is why it is important to feel good about both what you are doing and what you are not doing at any given moment. Consider your time and energy available as well as the priority and context of any task or project before engaging. Use your judgment and intuition to begin completing these projects and tasks when it seems appropriate.
Alyssa Dalbey is a Wealth Manager with Schultz Financial Group Inc.
Schultz Financial Group Inc. (SFG) is a wealth management firm located in Reno, NV. Our approach to wealth management is different from many other wealth managers, financial advisors, and financial planners. Our team of fee-only fiduciaries strives to help our clients build their wealth across four capitals: Financial Matters, Physical Well-being, Psychological Space, and Intellectual Engagement. We provide family office and wealth management services to clients located in Nevada, California, and other states. If you’d like more information, please check out our website or reach out to us via our contact page.