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?

Social Security: The $64,000 Question

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

One of the most common questions people ask about Social Security is when they should start taking benefits.

This is the $64,000 question. Making the right decision for you can have a meaningful impact on your financial income in retirement.

Before considering how personal circumstances and objectives may play into your decision, it may be helpful to preface that discussion with an illustration of how benefits may differ based upon the age at which you commence taking Social Security.

As the accompanying chart reflects, the amount you receive will be based upon the age at which you begin taking benefits.

Happy Holidays!

Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

It’s probably no coincidence that the year ends at the same time we experience the longest nights and coldest days; a perfect excuse to spend a little extra time with family, reflect on the past 365 days and consider what may be ahead in the coming New Year.

If you are reading this, it is likely during those quiet days between Christmas and the New Year holiday where time seems to slow just enough for us to count our blessings and prepare for the coming new year.

A new year brings uncertainty, but also hope for a better future.

In the weeks and months that lie ahead I will roll out major changes to my website, update how we communicate with our people, and possibly even add some new people to my team. I can’t wait to share all this and more with you in 2019.

My blog posts will resume their regular weekly schedule in January. Until then, I wish you and your family a safe and blessed holiday season.

Happy New Year!

Mike Branch

Things I Am Grateful For This Thanksgiving

About this time of year my family starts to put together their Christmas list. It’s not just the kids. Adults, too, are encouraged (even expected) to produce a list of the stuff they’d like to receive for Christmas.

Instead, I propose we do a Gratitude List. A list of the things we are most grateful for and, frankly, could probably not live without.

Not in any particular order are just a few of the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving.