For many people their finances don’t just feel complicated, they are complicated.
Managing a complex financial picture can feel like a Herculean task and one that often leads to stress and procrastination. So much time is spent organizing paperwork and hunting down data that by the time you actually sit down to figure out where you stand you are too tired and stressed to be able to make good decisions or implement new strategies.
If this sounds like you, it may be time to take some steps to simplify your financial life. This won’t just save you time and effort it may also save you money.
We have compiled four tips that cover the areas most people seem to need to simplify and improve. Your needs may be different but at the very least this list should give you some ideas about how to get started.
Account For Your Accounts
Perhaps you switched jobs and have several retirement accounts from different employers. Or maybe you purchased a mutual fund at some point but haven’t checked on it in ages. Maybe your mortgage is at one bank and your checking account at another. Whatever the case, most people have too many accounts and investments, and you can take a big step toward a simpler financial picture if you take the time to account for and consolidate your various accounts.
Not only will consolidating accounts save you time and energy, it can also save you money. For example, if you have most of your investment accounts at one broker, you could be eligible for benefits like no account fees or free checking. You should also be able to link your accounts so instead of having to login to several accounts (and keep track of all the passwords) you can simply login once and see a more complete overview of your finances all in one place.
Even if your accounts are already well organized, it is important to survey your available options every few years to make sure you and your hard-earned money are in the best possible position, and that you are taking advantage of all of the perks and benefits you are entitled to.
Once you have simplified your accounts technology can help you manage them. These days there are myriad ways you can automate paying bills, saving money, and investing. By setting up automated systems to manage your finances you will have more time to analyze, strategize, and improve.
Automation can also help you figure out where your money is going and why. Checking your bank regularly will help you keep track of your spending. Utilizing auto-pay can help you keep on top of your bills and avoid late fees. In some cases you may also be able to download your financial information and add it to Quicken or another accounting program help you analyze your finances over the long-term and save you time come tax season.
Give Yourself Some Credit
There are many credit cards available today and with them come rewards. It is important to study the rewards programs for each card you own and make a plan to maximize your benefits. Surveying the credit cards available and determining which one suits your needs is a personal process based on how you use your card and what activities you participate in (i.e. frequent travelers, big shoppers, etc.) Take the time to balance the cost of the card (annual fee etc.) with the benefits you can receive and make sure you are getting the best possible deal.
For example if you have a card that rewards certain types of spending (dining, gas, etc.) you could use that card for the purchases that get you the highest rewards. Or you could use a card with the most generous rewards package exclusively until you reach the annual maximum reward and then switch to another card in order to reap the most benefits.
Get Assurance on Insurance
Many people not only overpay for insurance, they overpay for insurance that is not optimized for their needs. One way to optimize your insurance is, to have multiple policies at the same insurer (i.e. homeowners, and auto) and regularly make sure that the coverage limits are correct for your needs. (If you haven’t checked in a few years, chances are they aren’t). Another step is to increase deductibles to reduce your premiums and to check your personal liability limits.
Once you have created a coverage plan that suits your needs, take some time to compare premiums from different insurers for the coverage you need. This can be tedious, since as of yet there is no consolidated resource to compare premiums, but it can pay off greatly in the form of premium deductions or improvements in your coverage.
If you take even one of the steps listed above you will be making a big difference in your finances and your ability to monitor, utilize, and enrich them. By creating the time and space to manage your money properly you will be one step closer to achieving your long-term financial goals, like opening a business, or saving for retirement. If you are looking for more information on how you can effectively manage your finances please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
This material is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.