Let us aim to -
- Declutter our financial life
- Get our finances in order
- Consolidate and simplify our finances
These steps will get your finances in order and give you an overview of your financial status -
Consolidate Bank Accounts
How many bank accounts, demat accounts do you have? You might have opened multiple salary accounts in banks and never got to closing older ones. This might be the case with other accounts – demat account, current account. Inactive accounts can be penalized. There are annual charges for debit cards. If you do not use them, do not hold them. Close dormant accounts by visiting the bank branch, filling the relevant forms and completing the process for closure.
We get lots of emails and hard copy mails from banks, insurance companies, mutual funds. We get annual reports, voting ballot forms etc. from companies of which we hold shares. There are many credit card receipts and ATM slips in our bags and wallets. Do we really need them? Once you pay your credit card dues and get confirmation, dispose off credit card stubs or keep the credit card stub till the return period of the purchase is completed. Dispose ATM slips on a regular basis. If you document withdrawals and purchases, do that and get rid of the ATM slips. Try to get as much documentation as possible via email. Discard prospectuses and annual reports once you have gone through the relevant information.
Documentation related to tax returns is another story though. Experts say these documents have to be stored from 6 years to 17 years depending on type of income. Scan and store them in a drive or a password protected online digital locker.
Manage Credit Cards
You may have got a couple of credit cards based on promotional offers. Others are linked to your bank account. Do you use all of them? It is not financially prudent to have many credit cards. You will be tempted to transfer the balance or unknowingly increase your spending. There are annual fees and maintenance charges. Keep 2-3 credit cards that are the best of the lot for your requirements and dispose off the rest. Remember to redeem all your points before disposing off the cards.
Get Rid Of Unwanted Insurance Policies
Many of us buy insurance policies to save tax or because a friend is selling it. Some of us buy inadequate insurance policies. Check the relevance of your insurance policies.
For example, before you take travel insurance, check if your credit card offers travel insurance. Have you taken life insurance for someone who is financially dependent on you? It might be better to cancel this policy. Sometimes we make emotional decisions like buying a health insurance policy for cancer or diabetes without much thought. Do you need it? For example, does the cancer insurance policy cover all kinds of cancer? Consolidate multiple small term plans into one plan. It will save you the hassle of documentation and paying multiple premiums.
Get rid of unnecessary expenses and debt
Evaluate your expenditure pattern. You might have online and real life subscriptions that you do not use. Cancel unwanted subscriptions to save money. If you have many loans, pay them off. You will save on interest and gain peace of mind as you will have less debt.
Clutter creates stress and loss of control. Organizing your financial life will reduce stress, improve maintenance of financial assets and also give you an updated view on your financial life.