by Ann Zuraw | Featured Contributor
If you haven’t joined the Marie Kondo movement let me explain why it may be a smart financial decision to give it a try.
For those of you unfamiliar with the movement, Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant and author. She wrote the “The Changing Magic of Tidying” and now has a popular series on Netflix where she can teach you how to de-clutter your life and find what truly brings you joy.
What I learned from Marie Kondo is to set up a system that you can maintain long-term. It is easier to get organized when you follow a system and do it consistently. For example, get in the habit of taking a step back and thinking through a purchase before you buy. If you take a moment before you purchase an item, especially an item that is essentially a duplicate to what you already own, maybe you’ll skip this purchase and save the money for something more essential. It would be great both for your wallet and our environment as it will prevent the need to fill up our landfills.
Another great habit is having a place for everything so that after you’re done using it, reading it, or opening it, you put it back where it belongs. By developing these systems, there will be no need for an annual Marie Kondo purge because we will begin to change the behaviors that led us in the first place to over-consumption and holding on to things that we will never use again. So today, I advise you to join the fun and take steps to make your physical and financial environment clutter free.
As a financial advisor, I recommend you start de-cluttering and organizing your financial life as well as your financial security methods. Here are a few areas to consider:
- We are at tax time, and many documents and information are needed before you file. Do you have a consistent system to organize and help you remember what to include every year? It can be as simple as a checklist.
- Where do you keep all your financial information? Do you have a system to keep it confidential? Or available? It can be locked in a secure file or stored as an encrypted file in a cloud program.
- How safe are your login passwords for your financial accounts? Your logins are sources of information that put your financial life at risk. Pass-codes should be changed regularly and contain at least twelve characters which include both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols and never use duplicates to reduce the impact of a data breach.
- Do you have a secure place to store your pass-codes? What if you lose it? Is it on the cloud? You can keep a hard copy in a secure locked file or better yet purchase a pass-code manager which will encrypt your pass-codes and save them securely in a cloud program.
- How secure is the information on your laptop, cell phone or wallet, should any of these be taken? Technology keeps getting better, and in return, you keep increasing your reliance and use of it which means you also need to keep track of what information is stored on each of these items.
- Do you have an inventory of what is in your laptop, cell phone, and wallet? I personally have switched to digital files both in my business and my own Doing so has helped with security; also, I found a need to clean up and organize this information continually. Even though I am not physically holding the paper-my cloud is getting overloaded—like my closet. When this starts to happen, I find it taking much longer to find the information I need because it is not organized. So just like putting my socks folded neatly in one container—I need to put all my tax information for a specific account in a folder with the year identified, rather than just one large catch-all “Tax” folder. In addition, separate which information I need/want to keep long term, and which can be deleted after a specific time-period to reduce digital clutter.
When you start the practice of following a system that helps you keep things simple and organized you will begin to feel more confident and in control of your personal and financial life. You will also have a lot more free time to do the things that you love.
Ann Zuraw, Founder, and Fearless Leader/President of Zuraw Financial Advisors, a financial planning and investment management firm based in Greensboro, North Carolina serving families in all stages of life.
“Never Give Up, and it is Never Too Late to Learn.” —this is Ann Zuraw’s (AZ) mantra.
Our goal at ZFA is to encourage women to take responsibility for their finances. As a Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA ®, Certified Financial Planner, CFP ® and MBA- and entrepreneur, Ann built www.ZurawFinancialAdvisors.com as a Registered Investment Advisor with assets under management of $190 million.
Ann served for 25 years as the only female on the board of her family’s real estate company. She witnessed firsthand the difficulties of running and expanding a business, along with the hardships of balancing family dynamics through economic ups and downs. At ZFA we believe that everyone can and should understand their finances and investment opportunities whether you have $5000 or $5 million.
Ann utilizes her blog www.ChicksChatandChange.com to educate women about improving their financial life whether dealing with aging parents, kids, partners or just controlling their spending.
Born in New Orleans and currently living in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ann lived in NYC, San Francisco & Oakland, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My family includes 3 young adult kids who like it or not are always learning about money and—2 English Bulldogs who refuse to listen…