Four lessons I learned after going through my

in-laws' home office, and going paperless at Watercolor Financial.

Hello Megan,

The second Monday of January each year is National Clean Off Your Desk Day! How did I miss this?! I must have written it on a note on my desk!

Here are four lessons I have learned after going through my in-laws’ papers and going paperless at work.

  1. You are required to save your taxes for seven years. Some folks want to keep them longer for a record of their financial history, but my in-laws had saved their taxes, and their parents’ taxes, since 1948. Yes, that is 73 years of taxes, with all the receipts. SHRED THEM! You can have a service come to your home. Or, here is an idea: Buy a shredder.
  2. Go paperless with your bills. First, this is a safer way to receive and pay bills. If you must mail a check, go inside a post office to mail it, versus an unsecured public-facing mailbox. Paying by credit cards is better than debit cards because you have greater legal recourse should you experience online payment fraud. Paying online cuts down on mail and paper at home.
  3. Get your bank statements online and your investment statements online. Online statements are more secure and Fidelity charges you for paper statements. The bonus is there is nothing to throw out or shred and you can go online and search for what you need. 
  4. Old photos and memorabilia from the last two centuries do not mean anything to the next generation if they aren’t organized or labeled. We found boxes of photos of interesting folks we could not identify. Our suggestion: Migrate physical photos and mementos to digital formats to free up space and preserve memories. You can invest in a scanner or hire a company to help you with this project and upload essential documents to cloud storage. Hint: If this task is lingering on your to do list, consider treating yourself to a service that can help you upload/organize/print and share your photos. We can recommend organizers and companies to help you. 

As a visual person who thought I needed to see my files and touch them, I have found a paperless office freeing. It is an adjustment, but I can locate files faster in a document storage space, rather than a filing cabinet. I relish a clutter-free environment at work and find I am more productive and relaxed. Now that I am paperless, I LOVE my home office and my work office.

Let us know how we can help. 


Cass, Bleckley and Megan

Hope you enjoyed the 2024 Watercolor Financial Calendar. We mailed you one, but if you didn't get it, give us a call. Blame it on the US Post office!

Did you inherit an IRA from someone who died after 2019? This may be the year you need to take an RMD.

One of the significant new rules under 2020's SECURE Act is that inherited IRAs for anyone except an "eligible designated beneficiary" must be distributed by the end of the 10th year after the decedent's passing. (Spouses, minor or disabled children or anyone less than ten years younger than the original IRA owner are not subject to this 10-year rule.) Previously, these beneficiaries were allowed to stretch distributions over their lifetimes.

Due to significant confusion about Congress' intent in the new law, the IRS waived the requirement for the required minimum distributions each year (actually they waived the penalty) for the past three years, but we don't think they will do it again in 2024. Therefore, we will be keeping track of those RMDs for our clients to make sure the required distributions are completed by 12/31/24.

What about the new rules from SECURE Act 2.0 for taking out your own RMDs from your IRA or retirement plan? If you were born in 1959 or earlier, you will have an RMD starting in the year you turn 73. If you were born in 1960 or later, you will have an RMD starting the year you turn 75. Contact us for any questions. If your friends have any questions, we are happy to help them also.

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