Are you like the majority of Americans that seem to get easily discouraged and stressed when it comes to organizing your finances? If so, you are not alone! We all know and understand that our finances are an important part of our future, but nevertheless, it can be incredibly overwhelming when trying to create organization and structure when it comes to this topic.
As a financial advisor, I have found that many of our clients initially came to us because they had finally reached a point in their lives when they were able to admit they needed help getting organized. Financial advisors can help take complicated issues and topics and simplify them into a series of steps or checklists that help alleviate stress and make life more manageable.
Consider implementing any of these five tools and strategies if you have a strong desire to simplify and organize your financial life:
- Review your budget at least monthly and set goals.
Do you notice any discrepancies between your initial budget and what happened during the month? Are you overspending in a particular budget category? Are there any glaring holes or weaknesses in your current cash flow system? Staying on top of your budget helps to be honest with yourself. Remember that your budget is just that—yours. Nobody is there to judge and you can make decisions as to where your money is being spent (or saved).
- Create a filing system to keep track of all of your financial information. Consider the following color-coded folder system:
- Blue Folder – contains all of your investment and banking information.
- Red Folder – contains all of your debt and expense related information.
- Green Folder – contains all of your insurance information.
- Yellow Folder – contains all of your estate planning documents.
- Set up automatic monthly payments for the bulk of your expenses.
We live in a technological world and most of our expenses can be paid online. To take the hassle out of having to write several checks each month, consider setting up automatic bill pay for the majority of your expenses, particularly those that are typically the same dollar amount and date each month (e.g. mortgage, car loans, cell phone, cable bill).
- Don’t be afraid to pay for the services of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional.
We all know individuals, groups and organizations that have a very specific skill set that we are willing to pay for (i.e. contractors, lawn service providers, pet groomers, hairstylists, house cleaners, etc.). Perhaps this is because we don’t necessarily possess that particular skill, we aren’t knowledgeable in that area, we’re lacking in education, we don’t have enough time or we simply know that we don’t want to deal with it ourselves. When it comes to finances working with a professional, especially if started early in one’s career, can help make a difference in accumulating wealth over time.
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- Consolidate your investment assets with a trusted financial advisor.
If you have multiple accounts held at different institutions, are you current on how your aggregate portfolio is actually being invested? I believe in strategic asset allocation when managing a portfolio. It’s important to know what your mix of stocks and bonds is so that you are prepared to rebalance in different market cycles.
While organizing your finances can seem overwhelming, taking it step-by-step and working with a professional can make the process more manageable and give you peace of mind for your future.