It was an absolutely unorganized garage mess. As the garage door squeaked open I realized it’s definitely time to clean out the garage and probably a good opportunity to get rid of some things that we no longer need or use. Standing there I couldn’t help but smile because of a phone call I had earlier that week.
Paper, Paper, Everywhere
With tax season well under way I had a long time client call me to get some forms their CPA requested from them. We had a very nice conversation that eventually led to the client asking me if it was really necessary for them to keep all of their trade confirmations and monthly statements they have been receiving.
My response was “Well, how many statements and trade confirmations do you have?”
She then said, “Every statement and confirmation I’ve ever been sent in the mail over the last nine years of working with you”
Wow! Was my initial thought, but then I thought about my own garage and it all made sense. We often have a hard time letting go of “stuff”, yes the “stuff” that we just set in a corner and say we’ll get around to taking care of at a later date. Then before we know it that “stuff” we couldn’t get rid of creates a bigger mess that needs to be cleaned up. Important documents and statements are no different than the junk - I mean “stuff” we keep in our garages, attics, or basements.
It’s Ok To Cut The Clutter
I assured this client that it was ok to properly dispose of her old statements and trade confirmations; she would no longer need them. She was quite resistant to this idea at first. Then I told her that by working with my firm she had access to a user profile that stored each and every form online indefinitely. That’s right, she didn’t have to get all that paper in the mail.
I explained that there was no need to allow all of this paper to take up any more space in her house and more importantly her mind. After a few minutes on the phone with our custodian TD Ameritrade Institutional we had her all set up to view her accounts online as well as view every form and statement that has ever been sent to her. I could hear the relief in her voice when we finished our call.
What To Keep vs. Throw Away
So with the thought of spring cleaning on my mind let me lay out a few documents that you should keep and others that you should feel comfortable shredding or disposing of properly.
Things To Keep:
Things To Throw Away:
Similar to TD Ameritrade most financial institutions have now made it relatively easy to go online and login to your account. Doing so allows you to download any and all correspondence that they would have sent you in the mail, plus its stored online for you digitally.
Yes, this is your golden opportunity to reduce the amount of junk mail coming to your house. Do yourself a favor and sign up or enroll in electronic statements and confirmations from all of your financial service providers. Just think - you’ll finally be able to take back that corner in the kitchen where you stack all of that unnecessary paper.
So now that you have a good idea of what to keep vs. what to throw away and you’re planning on signing up for electronic delivery of your financial statements I hope you’ll take the opportunity to go through that “stuff” you’ve been saving and find a final resting place for it, like the shredder.
After all - it is time for a good spring-cleaning.
As for me, I’ll be in the backyard trying to straighten up my own mess, the garage.
Tony Velasquez is the Founder and Managing Director of Wisely Advised an Illinois Registered Investment Advisor. Wisely Advised provides comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory services to both individual and business clients. You can learn more about Tony and his firm here.
What is a Trust?
The media offers us many images for what a trust is and the type of person that has access to such a fund. The movies portray a young, immature teen galavanting around the country without a care in the world. But you can’t believe everything you see on TV, right?
Trusts are not reserved for a certain group of people, they can be used as a catalyst for your estate plan and the legacy you leave behind. A trust is a legal document that allows an individual to create a direct line of inheritance for their assets. This means that you can set up a trust to house your assets and, at a select point, transfer those assets to your chosen beneficiaries.
Let’s talk about what people typically put in a trust. You can fund your trust using a traditional checking or savings account, real estate, business interest, money owed to you through your business, life insurance benefits, and brokerage accounts.
You can’t (and probably shouldn’t - even if it was an option) fund your trust with your workplace retirement plan (like a 401(k)), or a Health Savings Account. Because these types of accounts are specifically going to be used for your own retirement, even if you could use them to fund your trust, it’s in your best interest to maintain full control over these accounts and keep them in your name with your beneficiary designations kept up to date.
People may say that three’s a crowd, but in a trust, there are often three parties involved:
The person who establishes the fund and supplies the assets.
You may think this refers to the person who obtains the assets, but in fact, a trustee is a person who controls the trust until the beneficiary becomes of age.
The person or people who receive the inheritance or assets within the trust.
It works like this:
Let’s say Kelli and I set up a trust for our sons Jorge and Theodore. I can elect my brother-in-law Kevin to be the trustee for the account. Jorge and Theodore won’t have direct access to the assets in the trust, and Kevin has control over when Jorge and Theo can receive the assets or until they reach the age I’ve designated in the trust.
Tony Velasquez runs Wisely Advised, LLC a full-service Registered Investment Advisory Firm offering comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory services to individuals, families, and businesses.
Whether it's traveling, being at the beach, or at his family's ranch in Texas, Tony loves enjoying time with his family and friends.