Many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to their finances. Many hesitate or never decide to seek help with their finances because of the anxiety or shame that stems from being overwhelmed. Instead of allowing the anxiety and shame to sabotage you from moving forward, consider eliminating the things that are causing your financial situation to be overwhelming.
For those that have a strong desire to change their financial situation, an appointment is made to seek the advice from a Financial Professional. Because a Financial Professional needs in depth financial information to provide appropriate financial recommendations, all types of documents are essential for a successful appointment. Unfortunately, so many get overwhelmed by what is requested that they block the opportunity to receive advice to change their financial situation. Why are so many people allowing their financial situation to make them feel overwhelmed? As a Financial Professional, I found that the greatest reason that many are feeling overwhelmed is due to the lack of organization with their finances.
Many people take the avoidance approach to their finances, which causes them to have no clue about where their money is going as well as when and what bills are due throughout the month. These are the people that never open their mail. They toss unopened mail in a basket next to the front door or on the kitchen counter until it piles up and then toss it into a box that gets stored in the attic, basement or garage. These are the clients that express their anxiety and shame because they come to appointments with dusty boxes filled with financial documents. I applaud these clients because they didn’t allow anxiety or shame to cause them to postpone or cancel their appointments, which will sabotage their efforts towards changing their financial situation.
For these clients, the first step towards changing their financial situation is implementing a filing system that will organize their financial documents. This is the point that I say, “Roll up your sleeves and let’s dig in.” Below, you will find a filing system that I use to help my clients become more organized and ultimately reduce their feelings of being overwhelmed. Follow these steps to get organized and help reduce your anxiety and shame when it comes to your finances:
All mail is opened and sorted into five piles. Each pile is consistent with the lifestyle categories associated with Financially Mindful’s lifestyle planning. The lifestyle categories consist of housing expenses, transportation expenses, life expenses, debt expenses and savings. Use the chart to help with sorting documents into the applicable categories.
Create file folders for items in each pile, make sure to combine like items such as all electric bills in one folder, etc. Also, sort like items by date with the most current date in front. The file folders should be color coded to match the color that is associated with the lifestyle categories. Use the chart to help with lifestyle categories.
Get a desk calendar that can sit on your home office desk, kitchen counter, bedroom dresser, or wherever it will be visible for important reminders. Make the calendar with due dates for each bill that needs to be paid for the month. Once all the bills are listed, you will make a habit of viewing the calendar to make payments on or before the due dates. If payments must be mailed, a payment should be sent at least a week before it is due to ensure that it is received prior to the due date. Make sure to mark the calendar for when the payment needs to be sent instead of marking the calendar for the due date.
Store all file folders in a file box or a banker’s box, depending on the amount of folders you have. The file box or banker’s box should be placed in a location that can be quickly accessed for paying bills, sorting new mail items or providing requested documents to your financial professional.
Take 5 to 10 minutes each day to update your calendar and sort new mail items. This small amount of time each day helps to prevent a new pile of unopened mail from forming in the dreadful basket at the door or on the kitchen counter.
Gather other financial documents such as wills, trusts, insurance policies, power of attorney documents or other legal documents that are pertinent to your finances. Keep those documents in the file box or banker’s box as these are additional documents that may be needed by your financial professional.
By having a filing system, you will start to feel less overwhelmed and of course the shame is removed because the search for documents has been eliminated. Now, you are one step closer to changing your financial situation and living the lifestyle that you desire. If you need help with implementing your filing system, please contact me at 704-626-7484.
Increasing Financial Awareness and Building Financial Stability