How to obtain the Required Data

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Latest Personal Income & Corporate Tax Returns

These financial documents should be with your tax person or accountant.  We are looking for forms called the 1040, schedule c, or 1120 tax forms.  You might only have your paystub or w-2, which is fine to start.  If you filed your taxes online, you should be able to access your providers website and download the forms.  If you filed your taxes the old fashioned way, then they may be stored in a safe or a filing cabinet. 🙂

All Insurance Policies Actively In-Force

Usually these documents can be found online with your current insurance provider.  Most insurance companies give clients access to their policies online, so they can access and make changes.  We are predominately looking for financial insurance policies such as life insurance, disability, long term care, or accidental insurance.  However, in order to give the best experience we request the liability coverages as well that cover your autos, your home, and your business.  You also may need to reach out to multiple insurance companies to gather this information if one company does not cover all of your assets & belongings. Frequent places to look for insurance phone numbers are: glove compartment in your car, on a desk somewhere, google, or your email inbox.

Employee Benefits Package

The employee benefits package, if applicable, will be in your employee dashboard.  You should be able to login to your employee portal and access your benefits online. Do keep in mind that the retirement section usually will not be contained within this dashboard.  There will be a separate portal for that.  If you have no success gathering your benefits online, you can reach out to the Human Resources (HR) department to request the information.  This information should contain your options for health insurance plans,  voluntary insurance benefits (accident, dental, life), disability benefits, & employer sponsored insurance.

Latest IRA/401k Statements & Brokerage- Annuity, College, Savings/CD Accounts

These are your investment accounts.  Either to be used now, in the near future, or your retirement.  Each of these accounts will be housed with either a custodian (a third party where your money is held), an insurance company, or a bank. 

Further explanation is provided below:

IRA/401k Statements & Brokerage accounts– These accounts can be found on your companies retirement plan provider website or the custodian website you currently use IE: tdameritrade, robinhood, stash, morgan stanley, etc..  The latest statement will be available after each quarter in the year. For example, the 1st quarter of the year would be January, February, & March.  The 1st quarter statement would arrive at your door or be posted online in your portal by April 15th reporting the performance and holdings you owned during the 1st quarter.  If we are in the month of February, the latest quarterly statement would be for October, November, & December of the previous year, and it would arrive or be uploaded around January 15th.  Some custodians will allow you to access monthly reporting; in this case we can use the latest monthly statement.

Annuity- This is an insurance investment and should be accessible online with the insurance carrier that issued the contract.  If there is no online portal to access your account, you should also be receiving an annual statement in the month the annuity was first purchased.  Most insurance companies send two statements- one on the contract anniversary, and another for the December 31st balance.  This statement is usually mailed to your home address unless you have a P.O Box, in which the mail would be delivered there. If you feel like you don’t receive these statements and you should be, you should call the insurance company with the phone number listed on the original policy.  A google search always works too! 🙂

College- These account statements can be found in different locations because different financial institutions can provide these investments.  The vast majority of these accounts are found either at a custodian or at a bank.  They too also provide quarterly statements with updates on performance and holdings.  If you are currently investing into a 529 college savings plan, chances are that you can contact the financial professional who first helped you open the account and request information on obtaining the latest statement. Otherwise, it will be housed online or mailed to your home like other investment accounts.

Savings/CD’s- These account statements can be found online through your online banking portal or at your brick and mortar bank. You should be able to access these statements and balances fairly easily.  If you need to contact your bank, you can do so through their mobile banking application or a quick google search of your banking institution.

Detailed List of Monthly Expenditures & Debt

Gathering this information will be different for everyone. Some people house their budgets on an excel spreadsheet, others on applications like mint or others.  If you are unsure of how much you are spending on utilities, mortgage interest, food, etc… You can always print out your monthly checking account statement from your online banking portal and categorize where your money went for the month.  If you use multiple banks for multiple bills, you will have to do this multiple times with each bank.  Another way to access this information is to keep track of all your bills either mailed to you, or sent to you via email notification.  Be aware of other bills that are automatically paid on your credit card.  If that is the case, you need to find out how much in monthly expenses you are paying with your credit card.  The auto loan, credit cards, & the mortgage, if applicable, should also be included in this list of expenses.  There are other expenses through your employer like taxes, that we will also be able to gather with your paystub, tax form, or w2.


Social Security Statement

If you have worked any job in which you paid taxes for a total of 40 Quarters (10 years) then you qualify for Social Security and Medi-Care benefits.  These benefits can be found online at SSA.GOV.  You then select “my Social Security” and select “Create an Account”.  From there, you will need to follow the prompts and verify information that big brother has on file for you.  If you have already created an account you simply login using your credentials.  If you are having trouble online, you can contact the social security administration at 800-772-1213, or you can google search your local social security office and schedule an appointment.

Pension Benefit Statement

Most pensions have what are called “benefits calculators” which tell us how much your pension will pay for the time of service & in what form E.g. Lump Sum Payment, Single-Life, Joint-Life, etc…  Usually, you can find this information online with your respective pension provider, but sometimes you need to reach out to HR and be directed to the pension retirement department.  Typically, this is a separate department from your 401k provider.  Whether you are part of a private sector company or the public sector, you can retrieve benefit calculations.  Your employee benefits package can sometimes include information regarding your pension, but if you are having no luck online the best option is to contact HR and ask.  For planning purposes, we need the most accurate numbers for your expected retirement date.  So, be prepared to ask for your pension benefit at the age you will retire E.g. Age 60, 65, 67, 70. If you are currently receiving a pension income check each month, then we simply need the amount you are receiving.

Financial Documents

Knowing your financial documents is essential for managing your money. It is important to understand all of your financial documents, including bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents, budget statements, and any other documents that show your financial status. Understanding your financial documents can help you make smarter decisions about how you use and manage your money. Having a good understanding of your financial documents can help you stay on top of your finances and make decisions that will benefit you in the long run. Knowing your financial documents can also help you identify potential problems before they arise, allowing you to take action to avoid any financial difficulties.

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