How Do You Organize Financial Documents?

In some aspects of my life, I’m pretty organized. In other aspects of my life, I’m pretty unorganized. And, in still other aspects of my life, I’m pretty unorganized for a little while until I get my act together and put my unorganized mess into a pretty organized system. When it comes to financial documents, I’m in that third category because I don’t have a very good filing system.

How to organize financial documents

Right now I take anything I can’t easily get to online, as in within a minute or two, into a handled plastic box full of hanging file folders and I didn’t put much thought into how I named the tabs. In fact, here are some of the names: Work 401k, Celica, Website 2005 Receipts, Website 2006 Receipts, and Utilities.

But wait, there’s more! In addition to that box, I have a few three-hole binders and a couple file folders that contain some other financial documents. The three-hold binders are filled with things that are logically connected. One binder contained all the documents related to my home purchase two years ago, another contains statements for my Roth IRA, and yet a third contains the statements to my SEP-IRA and Rollover IRA.

But wait, there’s more! I put all the papers in a huge pile on top of the plastic box until it gets to be about an inch high. That’s about the time I start feeling uncomfortable all those papers are sitting around and not organized into their little cubbyholes. So I start sorting through the documents and putting them where they should be, shredding the ones I want to get rid of (and hadn’t shredded already).

So you see what I mean? I’m organized… but not really. I don’t have a good system, and I’d like your help. I find that most of you have your stuff together and I was hoping you’d share your approach with me. If you aren’t comfortable leaving it in comments, you can email me directly too.

What I plan on doing is highlighting a few of the responses and writing more about them because I really need a better filing system than what I have now. Even my explanation seemed ragged… Thanks!