Extremely Simple Steps to Avoid Chaos

Incoming Mail

  • Establish Direct Deposit for Social Security, pension, required minimum distributions, annuities
  • Place all stocks/bonds/CDs, etc. in a brokerage account where:
    • All certificates are safe and splits and companies; sales documentation are managed
    • Dividends and interest are deposited directly
    • Year-end 1099s are consolidated into one statement
  • If there are many accounts held at one brokerage firm, ask for a consolidated statement (monthly or quarterly depending on the bank), so assets can be seen at a glance on one page and all statements are in one envelope
  • Requests for charitable contributions: throw out duplicate requests
  • Magazines: unsubscribe from magazines you are not reading
  • Stop unwanted catalogues by calling the 800 number that is on the order form and request that the company stop sending catalogues

Bills and Handling Paper

  • Establish auto pay for all utilities, rent/maintenance, insurance and any other monthly, quarterly, and even yearly expenses, if possible
  • Use only one to two credit cards and pay them in full, promptly
  • For taxes, have three folders labeled:
    • Charitable Contributions: for documentation of gifts given
    • Medical: for expenses (paid doctors, lab, and medicine bills: proof of travel to and from doctors and hospitals) and reimbursements 
    • Income: to collect all incoming 1099s, K-1s, and if not retired, W-2s at year-end
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