Are you feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation? Do you find that the business of life has created a permanent white noise that seems to always distract you? If you are feeling this way or similar, you are not alone.
Many people feel bogged down by the demands of life: family, friends, work, bills, finances. These distractions (wonderful though they can be) have the tendency to make us swerve from thinking about our own emotional well being. One of the best ways to take care of yourself this year is to undergo the process of decluttering.
The new year is a harbinger for change-- let this year be a change for the good. By taking time to unpack the complexities of your financial life, you may find there are processes and practices that are weighing you down. I’d like to show you 3 ways to help declutter your financial life and start 2019 off on the right foot.
Technology has altered our relationship with money. From banking to investing to saving, technology is infused in our overall financial marketplace. If you have been reluctant to implement technology in your financial strategy in the past, make this year the one where you take a small step forward.
One great tool technology has introduced is the process of automation. Automation is a great principal to incorporate into your financial strategy. It takes some of the daily pressures off of you, leaving you to focus on the things that are more important to you. Here are some ways that you can embrace automation this year.
There are so many payments that we have to make: credit cards, mortgages, loans, electricity, water, heat, rent, etc. Not all of those payments are due on the same day. Instead of being responsible for checking all of those dates by hand, set up autopayments on your regular bills. This way you will alleviate stress, streamline the process, and not have to worry about missing a payment and dealing with the consequences. Additionally, if you rack up rewards on your credit cards, pay what you can through your credit card (but don’t forget to pay your credit card bill!).
Automating some of your investment contributions is a great way to maintain momentum toward your savings goals. This will also help ensure that the money in your savings accounts grow each month. One of the places you can do that is in your retirement accounts. Automate how much money gets funneled into your 401(k), IRA, and other savings accounts. Let the technology do some of the work for you. By automating your investments, you are released from doing the grunt work and can reap the rewards of a healthy account.
Many businesses are moving to a subscription-based model of selling. This has changed many of the ways we purchase items, because instead of purchasing them once we are paying for them on a monthly-basis. How many things to you subscribe to in a month? Subscriptions come in many forms, here are some ways you can minimize them.
How many emails do you get in a day? Business-related emails take up enough space as it is without having the 15-20 fluff pieces crowding your inbox. Take some time to unsubscribe from the random emails you always get from that hotel you stayed in one night on a business trip 5 years ago. It is time to declutter your mailbox.
Many products are available for monthly subscriptions, and all have a fee. Even if the fee is small, those smaller costs add up. Take a close look at all of the places you subscribe to and see if you can pare that down this year to lighten some of your financial load.
Here is a list of many common subscriptions: Entertainment (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO), Music (Apple music, Spotify, Pandora), Groceries (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron), Fashion (Fabletics, Stitch Fix, Shoedazzle, ect.) Literature (various magazines and newspapers). Most of these products are paid on a monthly basis which can add up to a lot of money! Evaluate your actual usage, and make an effort to limit yourself in these subscriptions to save you money this coming year.
Ultimately, you are in control of your spending habits and financial profile. As an exercise, make a list of 3-4 of your top priorities and alter your spending and investing strategy accordingly. By spending intentionally on the things that matter most to you, you will feel more fulfilled in your relationship with your finances. I’ll do it too!
Now that I have three core values, I can base my spending and saving principles to maximize those and take away from the things that don’t add value to these three things.
Finances can be stressful, but taking the time to emphasize your values and goals will make you feel happier and healthier. If you would like to talk about ways to maximize the your goals, I would love to talk with you.
Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.
"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.