The New File System – Update #1

After my public declaration I went to work and got started on trying to overhaul my file system. I decided to model the system after the one mentioned in Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. The reason I like his system is it covers the basics without being overly complicated. I also discussed the idea with my wife and she agrees we need to do something. She even provided an additional idea of colour coding the file tabs so we can see each section easily.

So here is the break down of the new system, by section. Each section may have more than a couple of folders as need be.

  • Tax Returns
  • Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security Information
  • Retirement Savings Accounts
  • Taxable Investment Accounts
  • Chequing & Saving Accounts
  • Credit Card and Line of Credit Accounts
  • House Bills – Water, Power, Natural Gas, Phone, Mortgage
  • Insurance – Life, House and other
  • Wills & Other Important Documents
  • Kid’s Files – RESP and medical
  • Spending
  • Career Related – Pay stubs, association memberships
  • Writing Files – This Blog and other projects
  • Daycare Files
  • The Archive – Non active use files

If you see something I’ve missed or you like in your own system, please leave a comment and share.

8 thoughts on “The New File System – Update #1”

  1. Hi!
    Great list.
    Don’t forget a “medical” file for you and your spouse as well (not only kids). Our medical file is divided in two:
    – prescriptions
    – medical expenses/receipts (I have a health spending account at work that I can file claims on the amounts that the drug/medical plan doesn’t cover).
    I would also suggest a “coupon” file for coupons. promotions, etc… we’re still trying to figure out how to best use this though…

  2. CD

    I like David Bach’s system and base my “in-house” system on his.

    I also include a file for Passports, SIN cards and Birth certificates.

    I also invested in a fireproof safe for most of these files and keep a binder of my second most recent financial statements in the safe.

    My most recent financials get placed in the appropriate file and the second get transferred to “the binder”. Why the second most recent? It is because I usually refer to most recent over the course of the month as I am updating my computer, etc.

    I also invested in a memory stick where I save my financial spreadsheet and my microsoft money file and put that in the safe as well (although I was told that intense heat could still damage the memory stick).

    Better safe than sorry.

    Good luck


  3. I have transferred all my financial spreadsheets/planners to Google Docs, which is a free online depository for your documents. It has basic excel functionality, the charting’s a bit obtuse. But other than that it works great and I can access it on any computer. Also shareable with others.

  4. That’s a good system so far. As Fernando said, medical would probably be a good category. I have had some trouble keeping “medical” and “medical insurance” separate, but at least here in the US I would guess that I get more paperwork for even the most routine care than any other category you name. For a well visit I probably get 5 separate insurance notifications, so I keep those separate from “real” medical paperwork like test results, etc.

    Good declaration – sounds like you’re making good progress on it!

  5. I purchased a simple $12 file folder several years ago that came with predetermined tabs such as finance, health, insurance, receipts, etc. It’s one of those accordion looking file folders that kind of looks like a brief case. Anyhow, it was the best twelve bucks I ever spent. I still use it today.

  6. Fernando,

    Good point, but I’m not sure if I want that under another section (ie: health benefits under career) or by itself. I’ll think about it.


    Not a bad idea to use a safe as a back up. We have all the passport, etc documents in one folder marked in red. I jokingly told to wife if the house is burning down, get the kids and I’ll get that file folder, because everything else can burn for all I care. Your method is simpler as you don’t have to remember the folder in the first place.


    Not a bad idea. I’m resistant to do that for some reason, which is rather silly when I think about it. I already post my net worth online in this blog, so why can’t I move a few files to Google docs.

    brip blap,

    That’s a good point. Claim paperwork should be separate from true medical documents.


    Ha, that’s funny. I used to use one of those for a while and it worked fine until recently. I think it has to do with that fact the 1st kid has such large medical files from being born premature. I’m not joking when I say just one of his programs has generated a file in a one and a half inch binder that is full of paper.

    Thanks for all the great ideas everyone. A little update for you all. We got the basic structure put together yesterday and at one point my wife turned to me and commented to me while colouring on one of the folder’s tabs “Is this considered work if I’m having fun colouring?” So just to prove not everything has to be work.

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