Give Your Finances A Clean Sweep (PDF)

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Give Your Finances A Clean Sweep

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Any time of year can be the right t
ime to get your home office organiz
ed--and while you're at it, your fi
nances, too. Here are some tips.

Give Your Finances A Clean Sweep

Article Body:
Any time of year can be the right t
ime to get your home office organiz
ed-and while you're at it, your fin
ances, too. Here are some tips:

• Take out the garbage. Start
 with your desktop-not your compute
r, the real one. If your desk is co
vered in paperwork, weed out what's
 important and store key documents
in a central place. This could be a
 good time to dust off your credit
report as well. If you are the vict
im of identity theft, one of the fi
rst places it can show up is on you
r credit report.

Even though new legislation entitle
s you to one free report each year,
 it's estimated that only 10 percen
t of consumers are taking advantage
 of it. According to Money magazine
, 33 percent of those who did get a
 report found errors.

To request a copy, visit annual cre or contact one of the
 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Exp
erian or TransUnion.

• Make everything within reac
h. When organizing your office, it'
s important to keep frequently used
 items close at hand. The same appl
ies to your financial goals. Set go
als you can reach. For example, sta
rt your retirement fund by putting
a set amount every month into an In
dividual Retirement Account (IRA).

• Have a backup plan for file
s and finances. If you have importa
nt documents stored on your compute
r, back them up onto CDs once a mon
th and store them in a fireproof sa
fe. When it comes to financial back
up, create an emergency fund of at
least three months' salary. Also, u
pdate your life insurance policy. N
ewsweek recently stated that for a
married couple with two children, i
t is advisable to have life insuran
ce protection that equals eight tim
es your annual income. And while yo
u're at it, make sure your will is

• Shred it and forget it. If
you don't have a paper shredder, ge
t one. Shred old quarterly statemen
ts on investments once you have the
 annual statements. Also, shredding
 anything you don't need that conta
ins your Social Security number or
birth date can be your first line o
f defense against identity theft.

• Make it automatic. One easy
 way to eliminate clutter may be to
 sign up for online banking and cut
 down on the need for paper stateme
nts. Plus, you can set up monthly w
ithdrawals from your checking accou
nt that are deposited into an IRA-s
tarting with as little as $25 a mon

The guidance of a financial profess
ional can often be helpful when mak
ing changes such as these. For exam
ple, the financial professionals at
 Primerica have created a guide tha
t shows you how to take control of
your financial life.

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