How To “KonMari” Your Finances

Josh Cleveland and The Cedar Street Band

Borrowing from the wildly popular “KonMari method” of getting your life organized, getting your financial affairs in order may start with getting rid of any unnecessary documents that may be cluttering up your life.

While very few financial documents may spark actual joy to your life, I suggest saving only those documents that may have some value in the future. Shred the rest.

Shred It

On May 7th, Focus Financial hosted its 5th annual shredding event in which clients can bring their personal documents to be shredded by a professional shredding company.  Shred-it of MN provides “secure document destruction” services to over 300,000 customers around the world, as well as community Shred-it events like the one we are hosting.

To learn more about hosting a Shred-it event for your business or organization, read this blog post.

Some tips on what documents to keep and what you should destroy.

Keep forever. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but the following documents should be kept in a secure place forever.

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Pension plan documents
  • ID cards and passports
  • Marriage license
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills, living wills, power of attorney, and other legal documents
  • Titles to vehicles you own
  • House deed and mortgage documents

Tax returns. Most experts recommend keeping your tax returns for up to seven years. However, once your return is organized and stored in a safe place, I say keep it forever. Odds are your tax returns aren’t taking up that much space. Besides, there are some situations in which the IRS can go back and audit you indefinitely.

For a more detailed list of what documents to keep and for how long, check out this article by Consumer Reports.

Mike Branch with Tom and Carole Griffith, clients since 1993

The Focus Financial Shred-it event has also become a fun opportunity to spend time with clients in a fun and decidedly non-work atmosphere – Able Seedhouse + Brewery, in this case.

Food, beer, good music and the promise of a more organized financial life, is there a better way to spend a nice spring evening?

Tax Planning for 2019

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How did you do with your 2018 tax bill? Did you pay more or less tax in 2018 than you did in previous years?

Whether you were a beneficiary of the 2017 Tax Cuts and jobs Act or not, now is a good time to begin tax planning for the year ahead.

Below are 5 ideas to help you pay less tax this year.

10 Things To Know About the Required Beginning Date For IRAs

This article, written by Ed Slott IRA Analyst, Sarah Brenner, originally ran on The Slott Report.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Adding money to an IRA is easy. Knowing when and how to take money out of an IRA while complying with all the rules and regulations surrounding IRAs and retirement plans — that is the tricky part.

All IRA owners must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions or RMDs from their IRA by April 1 of the year after the year they turn 70 ½.

But the rules don’t stop there.

This article, written by Ed Slott IRA Analyst, Sarah Brenner, originally ran on The Slott Report.

You can learn more about IRAs from Ed Slott and his team, by clicking here.

Does Your Child Need To File An Income Tax Return?

Photo by Aleksander Borzenets on Unsplash

As parents, we encourage our children to work so they can learn important values about work and independence. At what point, if at all, do children need to file an income tax return for the money they earn?

The IRS does not exempt anyone from the requirement to file a tax return based on age, even if your child is declared as an independent on your tax return.

Your dependent children must file a tax return when they earn above a certain amount of income.

Dependent children with earned income (that is, income from a job or self-employment) in excess of $12,000 must file an income tax return.

Dependent children with unearned income (interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.) of more than $1,050 must also file a return. And if the dependent child’s earned and unearned income together total more than the larger of $1,050 or a total of earned income up to $12,000 + $350.

Here’s an example. Kyle is a 20-year old college student who’s claimed as a dependent by his parents. He received $400 I unearned income and $5,500 for a part-time job on campus. He does not have to file a tax return because both his unearned and earned income fall below the thresholds. Kyle’s total income if $5,900 is less than his total earned income + $350.

If you decide to prepare a separate tax return for your child, the same reduced standard deduction rules detailed above will apply.

These thresholds are subject to change, so please consult a professional with tax expertise regarding your individual situation.


The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2019 FMG Suite