Marie Kondo is one of the leading organizing consultants in the world and has set about to help people declutter their lives in every different culture and from a variety of different lifestyles. Here are 5 tips from Ms. Kondo to help get your financial life in order:
1. Start by discarding
Many people keep paper copies of all of their account statements, utility bills, and expense receipts. If this is you, there’s a better way to keep all of this in order while also decluttering the area where you keep these documents: the cloud! There are a great amount of cloud storage solutions and apps available to transform your piles of papers into digital files that are easy to organize, making it simple to find the exact document you are looking for in seconds instead of spending great lengths of time sorting through all of the loose papers you have.
In addition to moving all of your paper documents online, almost all companies and services offer digital delivery of account statements, prospectuses, trade confirmations, and receipts. Set up all of your different accounts to send you these documents in a paperless format.
2. Organize by category
Spring is when most people try to hunt down and find all of the documents they need to file their taxes, and undoubtedly, we’ve all been in the situation before where we spend an immense amount of time searching for that one last W-2 or tax exemption form that we know is hiding somewhere. Your taxes are a great starting point for organizing by category. Mark a folder for 2020 tax forms and receipts. Throughout the course of the next year, every time you get a tax-related document, you can put it in this folder. When tax time in 2021 comes about, everything will be in one place and easy to find, leaving you in a situation where you aren’t scrambling to find specific forms or documents while brushing up against the tax-filing deadline.
Next, we suggest organizing your spending. Examine past bank statements and credit card statements to then organize expenses into categories. If you are tech-savvy, there are a number of online apps that can track your spending by categories (if your bank or credit union does not already offer budgeting software). This will help you determine whether or not your money is being spent on the things that matter most to you and your family.
3. Empty your bag or briefcase every day
This one sounds silly, but doing so can be quite cathartic. This will allow you to begin every day anew by discarding any unneeded papers, immediately uploading any expense receipts to the cloud, or filing any necessary paperwork into your organized folders or bins (for documents that you cannot obtain digital documents). Emptying your bag or briefcase daily (or weekly at the most!) can remove the burden of things piling up or getting lost or forgotten about. Employ this same practice with your daily mail. Recycle junk mail and shred any credit card offers or mail that you don’t intend to keep that might have personal information in it. Place any bills that need to be paid into a folder where they are easily accessible when you have a moment to handle them all at once. If there are any other types of mail that you get that are specific to your needs, create a new folder for that as well and place mail in it appropriately.
4. Identify what is truly precious
Take some time to identify what is truly important to you and your family (e.g., life goals). Make sure that each financial decision, from spending to saving and investing, is going to support these important long-term goals. Once again, monitor spending habits and reduce unnecessary expenses in favor of putting money away to make your life goals a reality.
5. Designate a place for everything
When decluttering your home or cleaning up on a weekly basis, most people have a designated area for their belongings. Your investments deserve the same type of treatment! Are you taking on the appropriate amount of risk, or are you taking on too much? Does your time horizontally align with your investment allocations? Are the beneficiaries listed on each of your accounts up-to-date? How about your estate plan? Do you have all of the right documents in place (a will, trust, durable power of attorney, medical powers of attorney, etc.)? When was the last time you reviewed these documents with an attorney? Reviewing them regularly will help to make sure your house is in order, and your finances are properly allocated.
These 5 Spring Tip from Marie Kondo are a great starting place, but if you’re ready to continue to conversation for how you can get the financial aspect of your life in order, consider meeting with a financial advisor to develop a more detailed and customized plan for your particular lifestyle and long-term goals.
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I'm Brad, owner of Colorado Real Estate Pros. This blog will talk more about my day-to-day as a Fort Collins Realtor, and my life as well. Enjoy!