, Newburyport, MA


April 2, 2013

Cleaning out your nostalgia and inertia intertwine


George Carlin’s voice again echoes in my mind as I imagine him rummaging through his files to find a CD renewal notice from the Avalon Savings Bank and shouting to his wife in the next room, “Where is the Avalon Savings Bank?” She replies, “I don’t know.” He replies, “Is this bank notice important?” She says, “I have no idea. Just keep it.”

Besides nostalgia and inertia, something else also prevents us from throwing out those aged financial documents and files. Somewhere in the back of our minds there is a haunting sense that we saved this once for a good reason. “It must have seemed important then, otherwise why would we have saved it in the first place? Better hold on to it just in case.”

In case of what? Really if you don’t throw it out now, somebody else will after you’ve lost the capacity to make that decision.

If you are at all motivated to leave a clean trail that your family can follow knowing they’re doing what you wanted, do them a favor and rid your house of that old financial stuff you don’t want and don’t need.

Spring is coming! It’s time for spring cleaning.


Donald E. Askey, a fee-only financial adviser and planner with offices in Amesbury and Boston, can be reached at

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