We all have paperwork, and how we deal with it varies. Some of us are super organised and others less so. If you are in the latter category then you will be in the majority. Many of us will not get to it because we just don’t have the time…. or are we just saying that! Is it more likely that we just do not know where to start as a result we avoid it? Having organised paperwork though can save you time later, money and make you feel happy.
I have put together 10 tips on how to get started.
Dedicate an area in the home to the paperwork. This is where all paperwork should be placed. No letters should be left on the kitchen counter or by the bed or behind the clock. Equip your area with pens, pencils and highlighters in a pen organiser. Make sure you have a good quality hole punch and a stapler along with an in-tray / out-tray. Labelling these “action” and “filing”.
Decide on a filing system. It should be personal to you, work with headings that are easy to understand, so that you can follow it effortlessly. Having to think what did I put that under, means, it was not filed under an obvious heading. I find one based around the subject matter – Capital, Income, Expenditure and Personal for example – works the best. As a result, the subject matter can then be easy be divided further eg capital, could contain files for banking, investments, hares etc, and the personal file could have details relating to medical appts etc and holidays. However, you may prefer an alphabetical system, it is whatever suits you.
Make decisions daily as to what to do with the post. Do not open and put back into the envelope. Decide if you will open the post daily or weekly. Once decided and opened, then either place the letter in the action tray or the filing tray, then decide if you will deal with the action post on a daily or weekly basis, whatever you decide to do it is important that you stick to it.
File at least once a week, any longer and the sight of the pile growing will not be helpful to your mindset. Very important, only file what you need to keep. Bin unnecessary pages, leaflets etc and the envelopes.
To ensure that all your hard work is kept tip top you should review your whole cabinet once a year or and remove all the “old stuff”, that you just do not need.
Work out your current budget, setting out all your income and expenditure in a monthly format. This will show you what you have left at the end of the month and help you with financial planning for the future; consider how might it change in the future when there’s only one person?
Consider how you control your budget? Some ideas:
To pay all the standing orders for the bills etc from the current account, and one credit card with all the spending on, then pay it off in full each month;
Two current accounts – one for all the regular standing orders and a second with the surplus each month transferred into it – your ‘spending’ money.
The first a “Who Do I Tell?”? list. This is a list of who to notify about your funeral / move to a home.
The second “Where is it all?” list. This list will set out all your accounts pensions etc., that you have with full details of the numbers etc for reference. This will then be ready for your attorney, executor or spouse when the time comes. Take note of current passwords and keep them secure.
Use split pins or treasures tags to put your receipts with the credit card bills or bank statements, so they are ready for checking and future reference.
Get your legal affairs in order: make a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you need help with your paperwork
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