Simplify Your Financial Life

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

National Simplify Your Life Week is August 4-10, 2019

Over the past 20 years, we’ve found that one of the greatest financial obstacles people face is financial complication. People can’t seem to stop making their lives more and more complicated which always means more and more time consuming. It’s strange, considering that the #1 complaint of most Americans is that they “don’t have enough time”. To help simplify your life and free-up time to live your life, we offer this To Do List.

Consolidate Your Banking – stop banking at multiple institutions. Pick 1 bank and consolidate all of your accounts at that bank. I don’t care if you can get a higher rate at a different bank. If Bank A pays 1.0% on your CD and Bank B will pay you 1.5%, that’s only $50 a year difference. It’s not worth your time. If you don’t trust your bank to keep your deposits safe, stop doing business with it! Consolidating your accounts not only eases management and saves time, it may also qualify you for higher rates & lower fees. It most certainly will make you a better customer who receives better service.

Consolidate Your Insurance – stop buying insurance from multiple insurance companies. Give a photocopy of the Declarations Page of all your policies to each of your insurance agents. Tell them you are going to consolidate your business with 1 agent and you need a quote on all of your business. Tell them to run an apples-to-apples quote. Consolidate all of your insurance business with the insurance company that offers you the lowest premiums. Consolidating your insurance business not only eases management and saves time, it may also qualify you for lower premiums. It most certainly will make you a better customer who receives better service.

Consolidate Your Investing – stop investing with multiple different financial advisors. Using multiple different advisors is financially dangerous. You will receive conflicting advice, invest using conflicting strategies, and own conflicting investments. Consolidate your investing with 1 financial advisor. It will ease management, save time, lower costs, standardize strategies & investments, and make you a good customer worthy of better service.

Set-Up Electronic Account Statements – stop receiving paper statements. This is 2019, not 1979. There is no legitimate reason to receive paper statements. Sign-Up for electronic statements on all of your accounts; banking, insurance, investing, utilities, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc … Paper statements are also expensive to print & mail. They are becoming even more expensive as fewer & fewer people receive paper statements. Many, maybe even most, businesses offer discounts for using electronic statements. You’ll save money & ease management.

Set-Up Automatic Bill Payments – stop writing checks to pay your bills. Writing checks is very time consuming. It’s also expensive, because those checks & stamps aren’t free. Set-up auto-pay on all of your accounts; utilities, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc … You can go from spending hours each week writing checks to 30 minutes a month balancing your checking account. And you really need to have your head examined if you drive around from institution to institution to pay your bills in cash every month. This ain’t 1942. This step definitely eases management and saves time.

Automate Savings – stop writing checks for your savings & investing. Automate the process. It will ease management, save time, and save money. And, research shows that people stick with automated savings & investment habits. That means you’ll ultimately have more money than you would’ve otherwise!

Use Finance Software – stop using paper for everything. This is 2019, not 1979. Use personal finance software. Most institutions will allow personal finance software to auto-download your monthly statements. This eases management, creates tons of time, and gives you more accurate & more detailed records.

Set-Up Electronic Tax Returns – stop getting paper tax returns from your tax preparer! They can and will give you electronic copies to save on your computer.

Get Rid of Paper – get rid of the filing cabinet and all the paper records. You don’t need your electric bill from 1986 or your insurance statement from 1990. All you need is the past 3 years of statements. Get rid of that other junk. Definitely do not throw it in the trash. Either burn it or shred it. We shred paperwork for customers all the time. A local bank does the same thing. Just ask. Somebody you’re doing business with will professionally shred all that paperwork for you. Over the next 3 years you’ll get rid of the rest of the paper (because you’re receiving electronic statements now).

Use Cash Instead of Debit – stop buying everything with your debit card. Use cash instead. That means you can stop stock piling receipts and spending hours balancing your checking account. Using cash eases management and saves time. One more thing; studies show that people who use cash spend less money, so it will also save your money.

10 really easy ways to simplify your personal finances, ease management, free-up time, save money, and become a more valuable customer. You might prefer that your life be unnecessarily complicated, time consuming, and expensive, but if not, take the plunge and make things easier. You’ll be glad you did.

Sapiat Asset Management is a fee-only, independent registered investment advisor, specializing in goal oriented, financial planning & investment management for Gen X Individuals & Families, their Businesses, & the Trusts that benefit them.

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