When you’re trying to keep close tabs on all your personal finances and manage them in an effective way, all the different factors can quickly become overwhelming. Between all your investments, property, retirement plans and so forth, being financially independent and staying that way can certainly feel like a complex task. However, it doesn’t have to be. You may not think it, but effectively managing your finances can be much simpler than you’re making it for yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the different factors contributing to your personal finances, then here’s a guide to making it all a little simpler.
First of all, set out a plan for consolidating your bank and retirement accounts. For a lot of people, having one checking account and a separate savings account is enough. However, some people overcomplicate things by having more. If you fall into the latter category, then I highly recommend consolidating your accounts into a single checking account and a savings account. Despite what some financial advisors would have you believe, you won’t lose out on anything in the way of service, and will find it much easier to manage your banking. The same principle applies with retirement accounts and superannuation funds. If you have a few of these due to going through various jobs with different retirement plans, then you can simplify your personal finances by bundling them all into a single self-directed account. Aside from making it easier to manage your retirement assets and eliminating some of those pesky account fees, it will also cut down on the amount of paperwork you have to pour over! This brings me onto my next point…
If you want a much simpler way of managing your personal finances, then make a point to cut out as much paperwork as you can. When you have several different bank accounts for several different financial pursuits, you can quickly get buried under a mountain of paperwork. Even if you don’t take the time to read and understand it all, living with all those different papers knocking around can be extremely stressful in itself! I know that it’s not the most enjoyable way to spend your time, but if you want to simplify your financial life then you’ll have to crunch through that paperwork sooner or later. Set some time aside to gather up all your papers, and get rid of anything that isn’t 100% necessary. Then, shift all your statements and notifications to an online banking service. If you follow my first tip and reduce the number of open accounts you have in your name, the need for correspondence will drop anyway.
Your next step towards a simpler financial life should be cutting yourself down to a single credit card. A lot of people get hooked on special rewards and zero interest rate offers, and build up a pretty staggering collection of different credit cards over time. However, once those promotions and rewards have dried up, the cards are going to be just that; bits of plastic you carry around in your wallet. Sure, keeping them open for your credit scoring is a good idea. However, you should try to cut your use down to just one credit card. Compare the benefits of them all, and choose the one that offers the best, and then put the rest of them away. When you’re limiting yourself to one card, rather than five or ten, it becomes so much easier to manage your payments and spending.
If you have any active investments, then managing them all properly can be incredibly difficult. You may have bought stock, foreign currency or other assets on a whim, looking to diversify your capital, make it grow and avoid various risks. However, keeping your eggs in multiple baskets can often be a double-edged sword. You may not be especially passionate about investment, but try to take some time to educate yourself about all the different markets you’re trying to play. The jargon and various influencing factors can be overwhelming to begin with, but as you go along everything begins to smooth out. Nipping your investments in the bud, and understanding them perfectly, will give you peace of mind which will make managing your other finances so much simpler. You may be able to simplify things further by using trading tools and subscribing to journals and blogs that speak your language. Hiring a reputable stock or Forex broker can also be a big help. These professionals will provide valuable counsel on all your big investment decisions, analyse markets and economies to make predictions, and help you to build a overall stronger portfolio.
Like many, the success of your investments may not be the biggest thing on your mind. If you’re up to your nose in debt, or only have a few minor ones hanging over your head, then eliminating this is another great way to simplify your personal finances. Interest rates are not only a significant drain on your money, but having debts weighing you down can also make your personal finances far more complicated. Each source of debt you can eliminate is one less thing to worry about, so make this a priority! I’m sure you know that this isn’t something that can happen overnight. That is, unless you win a massive lottery jackpot! However, setting out a solid plan to going debt-free is never a bad thing.
Next, try to get into the habit of paying for things in cash wherever possible. I know this sounds pretty old school, especially when you consider how many businesses are strictly ecommerce operations these days. However, paying for more things with cash certainly has its advantages. You’ll avoid all those unnecessary receipts piling up, you won’t have to bother with tracking various expenses after the purchase. Having to do this with credit and debit cards is one of the biggest causes of stress and confusion for a lot of people who are trying to get a better hold on their personal finances. When you’re paying in cash, you can simply make a purchase and walk away. Of course, when it comes to purchases that need buyer protection or could lead to a refund situation, stick to your credit card. Aside from that though, making smaller purchases with cash will simplify your personal finances significantly.
Cutting out any services and subscriptions you don’t really use is another quick way to make your personal finances much more manageable. Aside from that, you could end up saving a huge amount of money! Like countless others, you probably have at least a few services and subscriptions you never or hardly ever use. Get out your statement and have a big de-clutter. The fewer separate payments you need to make, the easier it will be to control your personal finances.
Finally, try to cut down on the number of different goals you have. I know that this sounds like a bit of a defeatist point. However, following it will help you out a lot in the long run. Many people have several different financial goals on the go at the same time; making a certain amount back from an investment, starting a business, or reaching some important milestone with an expensive hobby. To maximise your chances of success, try to stick to only one or two significant goals at a time. Put all your efforts into pursuing these one or two, and let all the others fall by the wayside for the time being. You’ll have a better idea of where your money is going, and be able to achieve each goal so much easier.