Get Your Financial House in Order

As May arrives and the days grow longer, Canadians seem to wake up from the cold, dark days of winter with a renewed energy that finds expression in a burst of spring cleaning. And while you’re getting your house in order, this is also a great time for financial spring cleaning – which means getting your financial house in order.

You don’t need cleaning agents, mops and brooms for your financial spring cleaning – all you need is a lockable drawer or filing cabinet and a supply of file folders in which to organize and store all your financial information. Your financial filing system should include:

Bank statements
Investment account statements
Insurance policies and statements
Tax returns from prior years and supporting information
Mortgage and loan agreements and statements
Investment purchases and sales confirmations

Documents such as wills and powers of attorney are best kept in a fireproof safe.

As you receive information through the mail or otherwise, file it in the cabinet. When documents become older than three years or so, place them in inactive storage (perhaps in a banker’s box, stored in a closet or your basement) to make room for new information. The Canada Revenue Agency suggests that income tax information should be kept for at least six years, however, some of your tax and financial documents should be kept for longer – for example, the evidence to support the cost of an investment property should be retained because it will be needed when reporting the capital gain or loss on the sale of the property.

Your financial spring cleaning should also include organizing your tax info – T3, T4, T5 slips, RRSP receipts, public transit passes, charitable and political receipts, child care and child fitness receipts, and so on. If you intend to deduct employment expenses, be sure to keep and organize receipts associated with your automobile including car loan and interest payments, gas and maintenance expenses (don’t forget car wash receipts) and insurance costs.

And while you’re doing your financial spring cleaning, why not get in touch with your professional advisor who can help keep your financial life on track – not just this spring, but for a lifetime.

Müge Aydın
Muge Aydin was born in 1981 in Istanbul and she holds a BA degree in Economics from Anadolu University, Turkey. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2003 and continued her education at University of Gloucestershire in England where she received her Certificate in Business in 2004. She returned to Istanbul, Turkey in 2005 and started to work in financial services industry as an International Trade Operations Specialist and later as a Corporate Sales representative until she immigrated to Canada in 2009. Muge graduated from the Financial Services Practitioner Post Graduate Diploma program at Seneca College in 2011 and currently works in the financial services industry in Toronto.