GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Only 40 percent of Americans think they can find an important document on short notice, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. 

There are many good reasons to have a plan for organizing and retaining important documents.

Dan Ament, financial advisor with Morgan Stanley, joins us to share some “financial hacks” to help you get organized in 2019.

Here are two tools that may help you to get there:

Managing Your Tax-Related Docs Throughout the Year

Consider implementing a simple file system that allows you to organize tax-related documents throughout the year, rather than tackling “the pile” when it begins to tip over. The pile adds to your stress most often during tax time. 

Personally, I use an expandable file and print labels on each tab that allows me to simply drop in the documents as they are received.  Being organized can make you more productive and ensure that the many issues pertaining to personal finances are addressed.  Find a system that works for you and commit to it.

Organizing Your Important Family Records

Access and print a Family Records Organizer and compile the necessary information in a 3 ring binder. Note where essential personal papers are located- this is a first step to helping your parents with their finances. These may include birth and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, life, health and property insurance policies and property title information. 

Click here for an introduction to and guidelines for the Family Records Organizer above.

Make note of any bank and investment account information, including online access credentials, PIN numbers, savings and checking account numbers, investment accounts, certificates of deposit, and stock and bond information as well as the financial institutions' contact information and keep in a SAFE place.

If you own a safe or rent a safety deposit box, make sure you make note of where the combination and keys are located. In the case of a safety deposit box, someone needs to be a signer to have access. 

Learning what to keep and for how long will greatly improve the ease in managing your personal records.

More from KARE 11 Money:

Take KARE of Your Money: The latest travel trends

Promote yourself to ‘CFO’ of your personal finances

VERIFY: Does opening and closing cards hurt your credit?