Do you have one of those drawers in your kitchen full of paperclips, extra pens, a random business card or an unmatched sock? It’s basically the junk drawer right? When you find something laying around and don’t know where it goes, we just put it in there. Our financial lives can actually look the same way.
In our practice we often meet folks who have had really good intentions to make smart decisions, and so they’ve opened accounts to save for the future or they’ve bought different kinds of insurance, but they’ve never really had any over-arching advice or plan. And so they just accumulate different products, or policies with no real concept of how they work together to move you toward your goals. Sound familiar?
So what do you do to bring some organization and begin assembling the pieces into a plan? I’ve got 3 ideas:
The first step is NOT to open the drawer and dump all the contents on the floor and start sorting.
Either with your spouse or significant other, or by yourself, make some time to write down your goal.
Where do you hope to be financially in 2 years?
How about in 10 years?
This is really important. Get clarity around your GOALS and questions, THEN inventory your financial stuff.
Make a list of everything you OWN – house, car, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and don’t forget insurance policies (disability, life, auto) , etc Then list everything you OWE – student loans, mortgage, car loan. This will help you see clearly what you’ve accumulated and what you’re working with.
Often looking at these two lists in close proximity can help you see where changes might be helpful. Sometimes you need MORE of something – like monthly net income, or emergency fund or possibly insurance to protect your family. Sometimes you need less of something to meet your goals – like debt or idle cash that should be invested.
Of course, if you’re now looking at the list of your goals and questions and the inventory of your financial junk drawer, and don’t know what to do, it might be time to call in some help. This is what financial planners do for a living – help align your decision with your goals to help you get on track for the future your want. Talking with a financial planner can help get your and your spouse on the same page. It can put an end to confusion and open up communication. A financial planner can help answer your questions and can help point out questions you didn’t know to ask. And we can certainly help navigate life’s changes – jobs, kids, marriages.
So if you’re not sure who to turn to, simply get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have to see if we can be of help – with your financial junk drawer – not that pile in the kitchen.
It all starts with a plan and getting organized, so take the first step with this free download:
Shane Tenny is the managing partner of Spaugh Dameron Tenny. Along with hosting the Prosperous Doc® podcast, Shane has a true passion for behavioral finance, helping clients and audiences understand how to develop successful strategies based on their unique temperaments. An accomplished and highly engaging speaker, Shane is regularly interviewed for television and podcasts, is actively involved in the Financial Planning Association®, and contributes to industry advisory boards.
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