This tax season, whether you're about to cash a hefty check or you are gearing up to pay back Uncle Sam, all of the number crunching, receipt sifting and trips to your accountant's office serve as a polite reminder that finances can be a bit complicated (to say the least).
Since the idea of balancing a checkbook can cause an instant migraine for some, companies like LearnVest are here to help ease the tension. Vice President of Product and Financial Advice Strategy, Stephany Kirkpatrick (CFP and AIF), sat with ABC News' Amna Nawaz to share a few tips on how to smooth the path to Tax Day and get those personal finances in order.
Here are the nine steps she shared to help you "spring clean" your taxes.
1) Shred financial documents older than seven years.
2) Create a financial calendar with reminders throughout the year for important tasks such as checking your credit report.
3) Save important receipts and check them against your credit card statements and other expenses.
4) Use 90 percent of your tax return to clean up your finances and achieve big goals while saving the other 10 percent for fun.
1) As the main money manager of your household, create an "in case of emergency" folder with important financial information in case something happens to you.
2) Set up automatic payments so the money is gone before you even see (or spend) it. Remember to always review your bills.
3) Review your beneficiaries to make sure your assets go to the right people in the unfortunate event of a tragedy.
4) Unsubscribe from retailers to help stop the temptation of online shopping.
5) Trim your wallet by only carrying a primary credit card and a back-up unless absolutely necessary, keeping any additional cards tucked away at home.
With 46 percent of parents speaking to their kids about finances before sex, according to a LearnVest 2016 Money habits and Confessions survey, it's never too early to get a little advice on how to approach the tax subject with children.
1) Explain the basics: Tell them how taxes relate to life from working, to shopping, even winning the lottery.
2) Seize teachable moments: Show them what every day features taxes pay for including the fire department, schools, infrastructure, etc.
3) Create a "tax jar": Have each family member place a small portion of their income, or allowance, into a jar and after a few months, hold a vote on how to spend it.
For more information on how to execute these steps, check out the interview.