Recordkeeping – A Love/Hate Relationship

For most of us, recordkeeping is one of the least liked chores, no matter how important and necessary. Many of us just don’t believe we have the time or personality to be involved in the recordkeeping side of life. For those of us who give it a try, we may choose a recordkeeping system that is just too complicated even for our business needs. Keep in mind that difficulties with office organization, records, and document management can waste up to 150 hours per year!

How would you like to save about 150 hours per year? To be practical, the system and environment you choose needs to accommodate your current situation with room to grow. Keep in mind, for a business or investments, the IRS may require you to save those records from six to ten years! Check out the IRS Recordkeeping information, particularly for a business or property. With patience, important professional advice, and appropriate help, you will find a way to pace yourself.

In the beginning, your love/hate relationship may only shift somewhat to the positive. Yet, you will be on the way to recording your journey toward achieving your life dreams and goals. In the meantime, here are a few habits I did routinely that sabotaged effective recordkeeping in my family:

  • Never save receipts; let alone record them in some ledger or money management software program
  • Do not communicate with each other on mutual spending decisions
  • Loves spontaneous buying that feels good in the moment, not thinking about long-term consequences or life goals
  • One spouse dominating financial decisions
  • Don’t have a budget; and if you do, never review and stay committed to its purpose
  • Must own the latest gadget and what’s-it, thinking you will use it when you really know deep down you probably won’t

Do these habits sound familiar? This list goes on and on. I bet you could add more creative ones yourself. These habits I once had in my own life are now gratefully gone. If Integrity is high on your list of core values, then recordkeeping is God’s training tool for a faith-filled & fruitful life. In the previous article I mused about “What is Recordkeeping anyway?” Again, here are those basic recordkeeping areas to maintain throughout your life:

  • Net Worth
  • Budget
  • Home/Possessions
  • Benevolence & Giving
  • Emergency Records
  • Life/Family Memories

Basically, your Net Worth Statement gives you an overview of your assets and liabilities. Assets are what you own, and liabilities are what you owe. Your Budget provides a hands-on tool for reigning in spending and reaching for your life goals. Your personal budget consists of specific categories itemizing every annual mandatory and discretionary expense, and all sources of income.

The Home/Possessions Inventory identifies every possession you own. It will give a detailed list of your physical assets, their purchase date/value and replacement value. Benevolence & Giving area offers you an outline of how you would like to contribute to someone else’s life and our society in a variety of ways. Emergency Records are simply a list of all your pertinent information in case you are unavailable or experience an emergency. Life & Family Memories is one of the more definitely enjoyable recordkeeping routines. Making Memories are precious and offer a timeless legacy for your family. These precious memories can be arranged in photo albums, videos, family website album, on the wall, and in special “legacy/treasure” boxes for all to glimpse and share your story.

I encourage you to gather your loved ones around the family table to share in establishing and maintaining these important recordkeeping areas.

Shared commitment and dedication to these routines can make all the difference in you and your family’s life.