When was the last time you organized a space in your home? Did you feel euphoria once it was complete? Most likely, you felt a sense of accomplishment and a little happier. Having an organized space can save you time and make life feel much easier. Organizing your finances can have a similar effect on your life and overall financial well-being.
Organizing your financial life is an important step to successful money management. If you’re ready to take control of your finances in 2019, here’s your step-by-step guide to organizing your finances.
Automate savings and bill pay
Managing your finances can require a lot of time and effort. Finding ways to minimize the effort you spend managing your finances will give you more freedom to focus on your goals. Automating your savings and bills helps you eliminate stress while building good financial habits.
Start by automating the payment of your bills through your online banking institution. This will help you avoid costly late fees and keep your credit score in check. It can be challenging to make sure all of your bills are paid on time and accumulating late or missed payments can have a negative impact on your credit score. You will still need to continually monitor and review your bills to ensure you aren’t charged unexpected expenses or fees.
Next, you will want to set up automatic transfers to your savings account as well as investment accounts. By automating your savings, it allows you to pay yourself first and eliminates the temptation to spend your future retirement savings.
Automating your savings and bill pay essentially puts your finances on cruise control. You have more important things to worry about than if your bills are paid on time.
Utilize financial software
Imagine you’re taking a long road trip. Along the way, you glance at your mileage, gas levels, speed, and temperature gauges to ensure there are no hiccups along the way. The funny thing is, when it comes to our financial journey, we tend to ignore the vital sings of our financial health.
Incorporating the use of financial software gives you access to your own financial dashboard. It can help you see your progress and determine where you need to make adjustments. Software like Mint or Mvelopes may be great systems for starting your financial aggregation. If you work with a financial planner, they may offer a similar service. Financial software can help you with everything from budgeting to tax preparation.
Aggregating your accounts can aid you in keeping track of your net worth and the growth of your assets. Getting in the habit of monitoring your finances can help you achieve a successful financial future.
Create a filing system for bills and financial documents
Whether you choose to store your documents in folders or file them digitally, you should keep your finances safe and together in one place. Gather your credit card, mortgage, insurance, investment, phone, cable, bank, and any other statement you determine is important to your financial well-being.
Start by sorting your financial documents by categories. When it’s time to access financial information you will know exactly where to find it.
If you choose to keep paper copies of your financial documents, make sure the filing cabinet is in a safe location and is unexposed to potential natural disaster risks. For example, you may not want to keep your filing cabinet on your basement floor in case of water damage.
When comparing potential cabinets, look for the Underwriters’ Laboratory seal. This means that the cabinet should be able to withstand most household fires.
Keeping your financial documents in one location will make it easy to access them when reviewing your financial health.
Update important financial documents
Each year you will want to review your financial documents and ensure they are still current. This will include updating beneficiary information, checking or writing a will, looking over estate planning documents, reevaluating insurance needs, and making sure all automatic payments are still active.
Life is constantly changing, you want to make sure your financial documents reflect the changes in your life. For example, consider the implications if you’ve had a child in the past year. This life change effects a lot of aspects of your financial life. You may need to increase your life insurance coverage, update beneficiary information on all accounts, and rewrite your will and estate planning documents.
Designate a Saturday morning to reexamine all of your financial documents. Failing to review your financial documents on a regular basis will lead to financial distress and confusion.
Monitor your credit score
Your credit score plays an important role in the organization of your finances. Any errors found on your credit report can harm your financial health in the short-term and long-term.
Credit errors are one of the highest consumer complaints posted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website. In fact, credit reporting errors place in the top three. They will increase your interest rates, prevent you from getting loans, or even worse, cause you to lose out on the opportunity for career advancement.
Reviewing your credit report on a regular basis can help you spot errors and address them. You can review your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find inaccuracies, visit myfico.com for steps on how to resolve your issue.
Partner with a financial planner
Whether you’re single or have a companion by your side, partnering with a financial planner with retirement expertise is one of the best things you can do to organize your finances. Retirement planners are experts in the finance industry, and they have helped hundreds of people understand and optimize all of the pieces of their financial puzzle to help achieve the life they’ve always dreamed of in retirement
Their expertise and experience can help you reach your ultimate financial goals. Not only are retirement planners amazing financial resources to assist you as you work through the process of creating your written plan, they can become your trusted friend and confidant.
By working with a financial planner, they will initiate the tough conversations to help you prepare for when the unthinkable happens. The more you understand your own financial plan, the better you will be able to organize your finances.
The bottom line
Organizing your finances is vital to achieving financial success. By prioritizing the organization of your finances, you will eliminate unnecessary financial stress. This is your year. Start taking ownership of your financial well-being.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial future and create a path to increase your odds of success, please contact our team today. We are here to help you achieve your happily ever after retirement dreams.