Schwab MoneyWise ®

Organizing Your Financial Life

Prepare now to make life easier down the road.

Our Two Cents

Just as items get lost in a messy room, a disorganized financial life makes it easy to lose track of where your money goes. Creating a system that makes sense can help ensure your money is doing what it should.

Managing your finances can feel like putting together a complicated puzzle, but it's easier than you think. Just take the time to set up the right tools and get organized, and the pieces will start falling into place.

Open the right accounts

Banks offer incentives to open an account, such as reward points, cash back, and other perks. However, an account that offers reward points may also charge fees. And a low or even 0% introductory rate will probably default to a higher rate later on. Take the time to comparison shop and find the features that are right for you. has an easy account comparison tool to help you find the best deal for your situation.

Also consider linking your savings and checking accounts to automatically save each month. You'll be amazed at how quickly it will add up.

What to look for:

  • A checking account that pays interest
  • No or low minimum balance requirements
  • Unlimited free checking
  • Free ATM withdrawals

What to avoid:

  • Monthly fees
  • Fees for insufficient funds
  • Limits on online transactions, deposits, or ATM withdrawals—and fees if you exceed the limits

Set up a system

Keeping all financial details in one place and organized will help them make more sense. By creating a system now, you won’t have to think about it later.

Here is an example of what to group together:

Bank accounts

  • Checking account statements
  • Savings account statements

Insurance policies

  • Car
  • Disability
  • Health
  • Homeowner's/renter's
  • Life


  • Car loan statements and paperwork
  • College loan statements and communications
  • Credit card statements
  • Personal loan statements


  • Birth certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Marriage certificate
  • Passport
  • Prenuptial agreement


  • Final settlement statement (needed when you sell)
  • Home improvement receipts
  • Lease (if you rent)
  • Mortgage payment receipts
  • Rent payment receipts or canceled checks
  • Security deposit receipt
  • Title or deed to your home (if you own)


  • Annual Social Security statements
  • Retirement account statements (e.g., 401(k), IRA)


  • Current year's tax return
  • Tax returns from the past seven years, along with backup receipts for at least the last three years (longer if there are any unusual circumstances)


  • Statements for your children's accounts
  • Taxable brokerage accounts (keep annual statements and trade confirmations)

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal, or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager.

The Charles Schwab Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private foundation that is not part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. or its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation.

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