Spring Cleaning for Your Finances

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CFP Board Ambassador Robert Schmansky Metro-Detroit Livonia, Ann Arbor, Novi, Bloomfield, Troy, Southfield

CFP Board Ambassador Shares Tips to Help Simplify Your Finances This Season

Washington, D.C., March 24, 2016 (PDF) – The sun is shining and birds are chirping, which can only mean one thing – spring is finally here. While many people start to spend more time outdoors, for others the season carries heavier obligations, including tax preparation.

“It’s not enough to do all the right things from a financial perspective, but you also may have to prove yourself with actual documents at some point in life,” said CFP Board Ambassador Robert Schmansky, CFP®. “It is important to be able to find those documents when that critical time comes. With technology today, it is easier to find and keep documents, but only if you have a system in place that you and others can make sense of.”

In a recent article posted to LetsMakeaPlan.org, CFP Board outlines some simple steps consumers can take to de-clutter and reorganize their finances this spring-cleaning season.

  • KEEP: Buy a file cabinet. Information that must be kept permanently and in its original form – marriage, birth, adoption, citizenship and death certificates; veteran’s papers; health records – should be kept in a file cabinet. Other documents, such as passports and legal contracts, while not necessarily permanent, should be stored in the cabinet as well. Physical filing cabinets should be fireproof and secured with a lock, with the key or combination ideally given to your estate executor and/or trustees.

  • KEEP: Use online storage and buy a scanner and back-up device. Now that we’re in the 21st century, it is time to go digital. Online storage in the “cloud” makes sense for information you need to retain for a period of time, but not necessarily in its original form. Documents such as mortgages and student loans and banking, credit, and investment account statements can all be saved electronically, online and/or scanned and backed up to hard drive or similar device. It is important to remember that regular back-ups of your information will be necessary. And many CFP® professionals provide encrypted online vaults for storing scanned information, in which case a strong password replaces a sturdy lock.

  • KEEP: Buy an expandable folder. Utilizing an expandable folder with organizational tabs will allow you to file items that are regularly replaced, such as your annual Social Security benefits statement, property, auto, health insurance policies and more.

  • TOSS: Buy a shredder or hit delete. We receive an overwhelming amount of mail, either online or physically delivered, that we hang on to because we’re unsure if we will ever need it or not. Consider an economists’ approach to the “save or toss” question: Compare the benefit of tossing to the cost of retrieval, multiplied by the probability the information will be needed. Usually, you’ll end up tossing.

Purging your records can provide a tremendous sense of relief and reinforce a sense of control over your finances. A CFP® professional can help differentiate between what’s important and what can go in the shredder during this financial reorganization season, and all year long.

ABOUT CFP BOARD The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board’s mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes nearly 74,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.

CONTACT: Jessica Lewis, Communications Specialist P: 202-379-2256 E:jlewis@cfpboard.org Twitter: @cfpboardmedia


Robert Schmansky is the founder of Clear Financial Advisors of Metro-Detroit. Rob has over a decade of experience helping individuals and families meet their financial goals and overcome money concerns. He is frequently quoted in the media on issues regarding personal financial planning, and has been a contributing writer for U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and Yahoo!Finance, and an investment expert for FiLife, a former Dow Jones/IAC joint Internet venture. He has been an adjunct instructor of economics and the required courses for candidates to sit for the CFP® exam. Investment News selected Rob as a 2015 40 Under 40 financial planning professional and he is the 2013 PlanPlus Global Financial Planning Awards North American finalist.

CONTACT: Robert Schmansky, CFP® P: 248-677-1762 E: rob@clearfinancial.net W: www.clear.financial Twitter: @moneyclarity

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