Tips for Leading a More Balanced and Organized Life in 2017
January often stirs a jump start on New Year resolutions as people wipe the slate clean from the year before. Ranging from nutrition and exercise to reading and traveling, goals for the New Year can enhance our overall well-being. We want to help our clients, colleagues and friends with goals and resolutions relating to our area of expertise. Here are some ideas to get you on the track for an organized and well-balanced 2017:
Clean up Clutter- I’m sure by now many of you are familiar with The KonMari Method popularized by Marie Condo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The premise is simple – if an item in your home doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it! This is a great time of year to donate gently used books, clothing and household goods to local charities. The KonMari Method also states that a decluttered space helps with clarity and focus; so you may also be inclined to take on the often daunting task of organizing your office, which lead us to our next idea.
Purge and Catalog- This site is a great tool outlining how long you should keep certain documents, like bank statements and tax returns. You can divide your documents into a “purge” and “catalog” stack, and either scan or file the items to be cataloged in a manner that works for you. Please be sure to shred any documents that are in your purge pile or those that you’ve scanned and archived. You can take documents to Staples to be shred for a low fee or check what local services may be offered to you – for example, in San Diego, SDCCU hosts an annual “Super Shred” event.
Streamline and Automate- Now that you’ve gone through your physical documents to purge and catalog, sign up for electronic statements for your various accounts. You won’t have to worry about the paper pile-up and you can either download or keep your statements on the service provider’s site. Weatherly also offers a client portal where you can view your current and historical quarterly statements; we can sign you up if you haven’t already. Our portal is also home to our client vault where you can post documents, like your estate plans and tax returns, and we will download and save them to our secure server indefinitely. We also recommend aggregator sites like Mint to track your monthly spending and budgeting. You can link multiple accounts for easy viewing of what you’re spending each week, month or year.
Create a Roadmap for Yourself- Tracking your monthly budget may lead you to question how much you should be putting away for retirement, or if you’re spending or gifting too much or too little. We work with our clients on detailed financial plans to answer these questions and more. We touched on this topic briefly in a previous blog on Managing Longevity and financial planning is one of the keys to managing your assets in a manner during your working years that would allow for comfortable and seamless retirement later in life. We analyze income and spending, assets and liabilities and the various buckets you’re putting funds into each year to come up with a plan for the future. Just like going to your doctor for your annual physical, we want to review your plan at least annually for accuracy and a good financial health “check-up.”
Create a Roadmap for your Heirs- Reviewing your estate and legal documents are just as important as reviewing your financial plans. Each year brings updates to our tax codes and even changes to laws pertaining to estates, which could translate into a change for your current estate plan. There are a multitude of reasons to re-evaluate your plans, in addition to changes in tax codes, like changes to your family or wealth. A basic will may not suffice if your financial plan shows that you’ll amass substantial assets throughout your lifetime. You can review our blog on Estate Planning to see if an update is appropriate for you – or you can give us a call to discuss (and possibly share your estate documents electronically via our portal if you have completed your electronic cataloging!)
Upgrade- As much at it sometimes pains us, it may be time to upgrade some of your technology. If you’ve been writing your passwords down on sticky notes, you could benefit from an app like Keeper that manages your passwords in one secure place. Make sure you also use complex passwords and change them with some frequency to prevent hacking. Log out of any secure website after use and don’t send sensitive information via email. If you need a refresher on our cyber security tips, you can check out the post we wrote here. If you want to re-evaluate or change the RIA you’re working with, you can use sites like Investment Advisor Public Disclosure to view regulatory information and ADV filings for advisors. Also make sure you’re reviewing the type of advisor and fees, if your advisor adheres to fiduciary standards and performance, as these all make an impact in the long-term success of your financial plan.
We wish you all health and wealth in 2017 and success with all of your goals and resolutions! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.
** The information provided should not be interpreted as a recommendation, no aspects of your individual financial situation were considered. Always consult a financial professional before implementing any strategies derived from the information above.