Spring Cleaning for Your Finances is Important Too!

I plan to start my spring cleaning this year by requesting a copy of my free credit report.  Several years ago, the Federal Trade Commission started providing each person with a free copy of their credit reports from the three main reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.  In the past, you only received your credit report when you paid for a copy or applied for a loan.  Now, you can get a free copy each year.  The idea behind getting this free copy and reviewing it on an annual basis was to try to decrease the rising number of cases of identity theft.

What are you looking for on your credit report?  Any discrepancies including accounts that you don’t recall or did not open or any account that shows a current balance when you thought you closed it out years ago.  Also, if you have old credit cards that you no longer use, make sure they are not listed as active.  You can write a letter to the credit card company and have them make your account inactive to get this account closed out.

Three ways to request a copy of your credit report:
Website:  www.annualcreditreport.com
Phone:  877-322-8228
Mail:  Annual Credit Report Request Service,
PO Box 105283, Atlanta, GA  30348-5283.

What better time than after completing your tax returns to get rid of some paper?  Just remember to keep the supporting documentation for your returns, but here are some things you CAN shred.

  • Now that you had to provide your W-2 to get your tax returns completed, shred your paycheck stubs from the previous year. If you still have them for prior years, confirm you have your W-2 and shred them as well.
  • If you have reviewed your bank and credit card statements and reconciled with your receipts, get rid of the receipts. However, remember to keep receipts for big purchase items in case you need them for a warranty.
  • If you are feeling really comfortable with spring cleaning, you might shred your household bills from previous years. Again, be sure to keep anything that supports a warranty or if you need the information for tax purposes.

What are you going to do with all of these documents you want to get rid of? Don’t throw them in the trash! Bring them to our office and take advantage of our free shredding service.  Give us a call to let us know you are coming and you are welcome to bring the bags in through our back door.  We’ll take care of getting them shredded for you.

What should you keep?

  • Any items that pertain to the purchase of your home and home improvements.You might need to use this information down the road if you decide to sell your house.
  • BUY and SELL trade confirmations for taxable accounts (Individual, Joint, Trust, Non-IRA accounts, etc.). The responsibility of cost basis lies with the taxpayer and if you don’t have this information, the IRS assumes $0 for cost basis.  This might cause you to have a large capital gain or not be able to take advantage of a capital loss.

If you have any questions about cleaning up your finances, feel free to give us a call.