Now that tax season is firmly behind most of my clients, I’m reflecting upon the whirlwind of getting documents in order, Quicken reports run, and generally putting tax year 2011 to bed. Every year my clients declare “next year will be different!” They promise to keep track of their mileage, reconcile their bank accounts monthly, and vow to keep their financial world in order. Yup, I’ve heard it all.
In the coming months, I’ll share my best financial organization tips. My hope is that these tidbits will help you gain order and control over your financial life. Taking a piece at a time, next year’s tax season could be a breeze. Or for some, it will reduce what feels like an F5 hurricane to a windy tropical storm.
First Step to Financial Organization
First, I’d like to preface this discussion about financial organization. Money is neither good or bad. It just is. How much you have in your bank accounts is simply feedback. By examining your financial situation and organizing it, it’s a way to bring clarity and simplicity into your life. Someone described money as “stored energy,” meaning you spent time and effort earning dollars. By saving money, you’ve stored that energy to tap into later. I think of money as a tool, one that you control.
As you embark on this journey, I suggest pondering these questions:
- Do you have a financial plan? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What’s your relationship with money?
- Do you have a tendency to save it, spending it miserly? Or, do you spend it freely without regard to long-term consequences? Not sure? Check out this money personality quiz.
- What do you think is your biggest financial organization hurdle to overcome?
The answers to these questions aren’t right or wrong. It’s feedback on your relationship to money. That’s the first step, understanding how to feel about having (or not having) money, to creating a workable financial plan.
Next time we’ll talk about a notebook as part of creating a financially organized life. So, your homework is to dig around and find an empty notebook or three ring binder.