In Your Corner: Simplify Your Finances

By Ryan Elijah

January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM EDT

One of the first steps to simplifying your finances is being organized, but it's important to know what to toss and what to keep.

The IRS can be your guide, many tax experts recommend keeping all tax records for 7 years, which means any statement or receipt that backs up a return should be kept.

If there are no tax implications, you can shred any bank and credit card statements that are over a year old, you can also get rid of 401k statements when the updated one arrives.
For receipts, hold on to those until the warranty expires and keep all deposit and debit card receipts until the transaction is confirmed as accurate.

There's also a way to control the amount of unwanted forms that come into your home. If you're like most families you're bombarded with prescreened credit card and insurance offers, if that's a problem you actually have two options to stop it.
You can call 1-888-5-opt-out to stop receiving the offers for 5 years or you can go online to optoutprescreen.com and you can fill out a form to permanently opt out. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies and you can send them each a written request if you're not a fan of the internet. You may be required to give your Social Security number.

Keep in mind, those prescreened offers can help you compare costs if you're in the market for services. Some companies do send offers not based on prescreened information and you'll still receive those even if you opt out.

One final piece of financial advice: experts say to make sure your will is updated and that a trusted person knows where to find key financial papers in the event of an
emergency.

You'll find discussion and more information on this story on Ryan's Facebook page.




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