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You Can't Manage What You Can't Find :: Retirement Success :: THE RETIREMENT SOURCE®
You Can't Manage What You Can't Find

Organize Your Financial Data

Most people in the process of accumulating assets have scattered them all over. The problem seems to compound with age and wealth accumulation. One of the biggest problems for many in getting an effective financial and estate plan on track is simply getting all their data together and organized.

Lack of a clear understanding of your financial situation results in several costly problems including:

  • Lack of control
  • Missed tax savings opportunities
  • Poor investment management
  • Inability to have someone else take over in an emergency
  • Waste of valuable personal time

Before even considering extensive estate planning, it is important to have a solid knowledge of all your assets.

You really need to know:

  1. What you own.
  2. Whose name it is legally registered in.
  3. How much is it worth.
  4. Who could deal with it if the owner were unable to do it?
  5. What is the current income tax status?
  6. How would it pass in the event of owner’s death?
  7. What would the income and estate tax status be?
  8. What controls are in place to assure that it fulfills your personal value-based goals?

You will benefit from reviewing all of these characteristics of your current assets with the ASSET CONTROL - Personal Values-Based Estate Planning Control Record will help you to record the ownership, transfer and tax aspects of all your assets.

In response to our clients’ requests for help, over the years we have developed several tools and techniques to simplify the process. One strategy we call S-O-S. This stands for Simplify, Optimize and Streamline, which is a method to help you consolidate your important personal and financial plans and documents into comprehensible and manageable system.

  • You Simplify by reviewing all your paperwork, assets and accounts to decide what is really necessary. As Albert Einstein said, “Make things as simple as possible but not more simple.”
  • You Optimize by selecting only those with the highest degree of effectiveness.
  • You Streamline by actually consolidating files, folders, documents and accounts to their optimum.

This is not a one-shot process, but is an effective method for periodically reviewing and improving the efficiency of your personal control. Having all your financial data assembled in a manner that can be easily handled makes good management possible. Once all your data is collected, it is important to begin to reduce the sheer volume of materials and number of account locations by the S-O-S method.

Truly Simplified Money Management is important. It is helpful to have a single system for keeping track of everything. Such an effective management system can help you achieve the three benefits that most people agree are the criteria of a sound financial plan:

  • Control
  • Completeness
  • Confidence

Another tool in our planning approach developed with the help of feedback from clients is our copyrighted Simplified Money Management - Master Control Index. This time-tested tool can help you to gain control and pull together all the pieces of your succession plan into an effective system. You will then have better continuing control over your personal values-based estate plan as well as your total financial program.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have solid understanding of all your assets - whose name they are in, who could deal with them if the owner could not, what the current income status is, how they would pass upon death and what the estate tax status would be?
  2. Do you have an effective index of all your important emergency contacts, documents and account numbers so that your successors would know who to contact and have the information readily available to take appropriate action?
  3. What area or areas of your personal financial management system do you feel could use improvement?
  4. What action could you take to strengthen these areas?
  5. Do you have system such as the S-O-S method to periodically review and streamline your management system?
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