Is Your Financial Life a Mess?

(Note: if you are looking for a super-duper investing strategy or a quick-and-easy one-minute tip to “instantly” make you more money now, today’s article is not for you…just hit the delete button and check back in a day or two when we’ll get back to some more current events and investing strategies and tactics!

But if you’re looking for a real strategy that will move your financial independence ahead by leaps and bounds, then please read on…)

Is your financial life a mess? Mine was! If only I could rewind ten years or so and show you what a mess it was…it was a disaster. (No, that’s not me in the picture, but it’s close!)

When I first organized my finances, I was living with Kung Fu Guy and between the two of us we had six or seven IRA’s, Kung Fu Guy had multiple DRIP accounts and savings bonds (always the wise one…I had multiple credit card statements!), we had checking and savings and CD’s and brokerage accounts….it was a mess.

If you would have asked me any basic question at all about my financial situation I would not have been able to answer you. In fact I wrote about that a few months ago…Pretty sad, right?

But if you fast-forward to the present, you would be astonished. I now create and review personal financial statements for our family each month, and at any given moment I can tell you precisely what the value of each of our accounts is, the rate of return we are expecting to get, the rate of return we are actually getting, articulate the reasons we are invested in that particular investment and our exit strategy, and much, much more…I’ve come a long way, thankfully!

And one of the main things I did to get to this lovely place in my financial life was simply to get organized.

Ahhh, “Organized.” The zen-like state of having “a place for everything and everything in its place”. (And the ability to keep that system functioning like a well-oiled top when new stuff comes in and old stuff must go).

or·gan·ized/ˈôrgəˌnīzd/ (Adjective)

Arranged in a systematic way, especially on a large scale.
Having one’s affairs in order so as to deal with them efficiently.

Getting organized falls under the “simple but not easy” category. It sounds so dumb (like duh, of course you should be organized…), but it’s amazing how many people (including yours truly!) live in a mess and never take the time to develop an organized system for their financial life that works for them.

Most people love being organized, but the actual process of getting organized sucks (especially when you are starting from square one). The word itself, “organize”, sounds horribly boring and awful and probably makes you want to groan (I know it does me…).

I mean, who ever wakes up and immediately thinks to himself, “Gee, today is a GREAT day for sorting through all of my crap! I think I will tackle that messy file cabinet now and skip that fun day on the golf course I had planned!”? (Right. No one.)

So if you are struggling with your own organizational “issues”, you can take solace in the fact that you are not alone…millions of other unorganized people all around the Western world are dealing with the exact same piles of junk as you are (and those of us with spouses and/or families have the added “pleasure” of dealing with all of their junk, too!). 🙂

But once you take that tiny first step and see what a difference it makes in your life, the next steps become easier and easier until one day you wake up and realize, “wow, I actually know how much money I have! And when my next bill is due! And I have the money to pay it, plus some! And I know exactly how that stock I bought last month is performing and whether or not I should sell it now! And I know my exact net worth, how much extra money I will have left over at the end of this month, and the exact percentage return on my investments! I ROCK!”.

And you can do this…as I mentioned above, my financial life used to be an absolute mess,and believe me, if I can sort it out, you can too!

It’s really not that hard. You just need two things to get organized:

  1. Motivation
  2. A simple system that works for you

Motivation is the tough one, and the one that I will tackle today (tomorrow I will share with you 5 simple steps for getting organized and my own simple systems that I use).

The very best way that I have found to get motivated is to visualize the end goal and how much better and more awesome your life will be when you get there.

Put that vision of yours in front of you where you can see it, get excitedabout achieving it, and then commit to getting yourself organized. You can do it!

You know yourself…what will motivate you? Can you pour yourself your favorite cocktail? Turn on your favorite music? Drag your financial papers to the living room and do it during the commercials of your favorite TV show? Call a friend over who you know will kick your butt and/or help you (now there is a true friend, by the way…anyone who will help you sort through your crap is a friend indeed!).

I used all of the above when I first got myself organized, but the biggest motivating factor for me by far was to imagine the end result and how much better my life would be once I was organized. I imagined and even cut out pictures of beautifully organized spaces and constantly thought of the benefits of being organized:

  • Never bouncing a check or missing a payment
  • Not feeling like an idiot when Kung Fu Guy asked me financial questions
  • Much more time…no more wasted hours spent struggling and searching for that bill/check/statement/trade notification
  • Much more clarity…the awesome clarity and understanding of my financial situation at any given moment and the data I needed at my fingertips
  • Much more simplicity and ease of life…so much easier to deal with day-to-day life when you’re not constantly scrambling to find what you need

(And OK, I nagged Kung Fu Guy into helping and poured a lot of cocktails and did it during commercials over the space of several days/weeks).

Only you know what will motivate you, although I hope your exciting vision for financial independence will!

And once you’ve discovered and uncovered your motivation, get ready to rock…you will love your new organized financial life, and will have so much fun counting all of your newfound money! And I’ll show you my five simple steps for getting organized tomorrow.

Good luck and please let me know how you do! Let me know what motivates you on the blog!

To your financial success,

— Kung Fu Girl

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