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Simplify Your Life

Simplify Your Life

| September 01, 2018
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I love the title of a book in my library about the frantic pace of modern life, “Little House on the Freeway.” (Too bad that I’m too busy to read it!)

With all the technology to save time and effort, it still seems most of us endure too much complexity. Here are some ways you can simplify your financial side of life:

  • Reduce bank accounts. Keep only one checking account and savings account.
  • Set up automatic payments. As long as you reconcile your checking account regularly, use auto-draft payments for those regular bills, such as utilities and insurance so you won’t forget a deadline and you’ll save postage too.
  • Streamline charitable giving.  Rather than giving $25 to 25 good causes, give more to three or four charities that you are passionate about. Ask the others to stop sending you mail.
  • Use only one credit card. Why keep a gas card, a department store card, and three others?
  • Find one professional, trusted adviser. Find a person that can help with both taxes and investments.
  • Know what to keep and what to toss. Retain income tax returns permanently. Keep real estate deeds, mortgage documents, and insurance policy as long as property is owned. Hold supporting tax reporting information (W-2’s, charitable contribution receipts, bank statements) for seven years.  IRA and 401(k) statements need only to be kept for a year. Mutual fund prospectuses and annual reports can be discarded after review.
  • Electronic or paper. Most of us keep far more paper than needed when information can be found or kept online.
  • An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Make backups of important computer records and store away from your house. Make a video inventory of personal property and store offsite to help during any insurance recovery.
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