Back to the Basics

April 26, 2020
min. read

At the Gleason Group, we want to help you keep your financial life organized. Today is the perfect opportunity to not only organize and declutter your home, but address open action items in your financial life.

Being proactive and gaining a better understanding of your financial life not only reduces stress, but helps you make more informed, thoughtful decisions on the future. Below are a few ways to bring clarity to your finances.

Store It or Shred It

Organizing paperwork is a daunting task. But think how you’ll feel when it’s done. Shredding bank statements, pay stubs and anything that has your personal information on it from more than two months ago is a great place to start. It decreases the risk of identity theft, frees up space, and allows you to find important documents faster.

You can store any valued items on the Raymond James secure Vault. In addition we can shred your documents for you or help you find a place to take them. Paper documents related to investments, home improvements and taxes should be kept for seven years.

We suggest getting copies of your life, disability, and other insurance policies as well as your estate documents and beneficiary forms. We can review all these documents and store them on the vault.

Credit check

Did you know you can access your credit report for free?

You can get three free credit reports a year from and a free TransUnion and Equifax report once a week from Unlike some free credit reporting options, these are accurate records of your credit from three national credit bureaus. Whether you have great credit or you’re a little nervous to check your score, the important thing is that you are staying informed.

Doing all your banking, shopping, vacation bookings and investments online are great for convenience, but having that personal information transmitted through the internet means you’re more susceptible to cyberattacks and identity theft.

As a result, there is a higher chance that someone could obtain that information and start using your credit without you being aware of it. So even if you know the exact balance and interest rate from every creditor you pay, staying on top of your credit reports will alert you to any suspicious behavior before it’s too late.

Review Rates, Create a Budget

We’ve talked about refinancing your house in previous updates. However, the same goes for other debts you might have as well. If you have credit card debt, give your creditors a call to see if they can lower your credit card interest rates.

If that doesn’t work, consider consolidating to a 0% interest rate credit card and transfer the balance so you can pay off the debt faster. Also, look at refinancing any vehicle loan you must pay off the debt faster or decrease the minimum payment so you can put more toward your emergency fund.

If you haven’t used a budget before, a few easy-to-use budgeting apps to choose from are Mint, PocketGaurd, GoodBudget (multiple users can access the same account) and YNAB (You Need a Budget) or EveryDollar for zero-based budgeting.

Some of these are free or have options to upgrade to a version that enables your banking to be automatically synced with the app. This way your expenses are imported into the app, allowing you to quickly assign expenses to all your budget categories without manually importing anything.

Finish Your Cleanup

Now that you’re completely aware of your finances and where things are when you need them, you’ll experience added peace of mind — at the perfect time. You’ll also be better prepared to make decisions about your financial future.

Now’s the time to be proactive.

Financial peace of mind is a process, not a state of being.

It’s a direction not a destination.

Do something today your future self will thank you for.