7 Steps to Organizing Your Finances

You might not consider yourself to be an organized person, but your finances are the last place you want to be disorganized. Having too little cash at the end of the month is a challenge, but overdraft fees and late fees every month are an even bigger concern. By getting organized you dramatically cut down on the likelihood of these things happening.

Follow these steps and you’ll be more organized that you ever thought you could be:

Look at your budget every month. Ensure that your budget is accurate. No two months are ever the same, so be sure your budget reflects reality for the upcoming month. For example, electricity bills can be much higher in the summer if you use air conditioning or in the winter if you have the heat turned up.
If you don’t have a budget, make one now! There are an unlimited number of resources available to make the job a lot easier. Budgets are critical. Your budget is your key to having your money work for you!
Utilize financial software. Some of the software available now can really help you to get organized, track your spending and bills, and help with budgeting. Many programs are free.

You might actually find working with your money to be enjoyable when you can use a computer and specialized software. It’s a whole different experience than laboring over your hand-written figures on paper.

Keep all your bills in one place. Avoid leaving some of them on the kitchen counter, some in the junk drawer, and some on the desk. Having one specific location for all your bills will ensure that nothing gets lost, and it’ll also give you the best chance to ensure that everything gets paid on time.
Store your bills close to where you normally sit and pay them. Keep them out in the open where you can see them regularly.

When you’re done paying them, retain any records you need and shred everything else to protect yourself from identity theft.

Pay your bills weekly. Each week, pay any bills that are due in the next couple of weeks. Choose a day and make a habit of paying your bills on that same day each week. Developing good habits is a big part of staying organized.

Make a checklist of your bills. This should include all your recurring bills. Then, when the bill arrives, you can note the day it arrived, the amount due, the date it’s due, and the day you actually paid it. Any non-recurring bills can be added to the checklist when they arrive.

Communicate regularly with anyone who shares your account(s). Whoever pays the bills needs to know what the other person is doing with the account. Develop a system to ensure that the bill payer is kept in the loop at all times.

Financial matters can be a source of stress in relationships, so work out an effective system before it becomes a challenge.

Have two accounts. Mishaps are a lot less likely to happen if you have one account that is only used to pay bills. Use a separate account for everything else.

Getting your finances well organized is a pretty simple task once you set up a system that works for you. Anytime you can eliminate financial clutter in your life, your mental chaos goes down and things seem to go more smoothly as well.

These seven tips will provide a great foundation for your organization effort. Regardless of how you’ve handled your finances in the past, you can put this plan into action today to make your future financial organizing easy and beneficial.

How to Free Yourself From Behavioral Finance Biases

Behavioral finance biases are untrue preconceived notions regarding current or potential investments that can seriously limit your investing success. It’s not easy to recognize that you have these biases and changing your beliefs can be a challenging task.
However, it’s worth the time and effort to learn to put your biases aside when making investing decisions. This way, your investment choices can be based on effective research and an understanding of the true risk of the investment.
Use these tips to make wise investment decisions by removing the beliefs that are limiting you:
Recognize if biases are affecting your perspective. Recognizing the issue is always the first and most necessary step.
Consider the situation in which the bias occurred. Do you want to know a great way to become extremely successful? Try not to repeat your mistakes.
Avoid making the same mistakes again by fully recognizing and analyzing the situation in which they occurred.
We tend to behave the same ways in the same situations until we make a concerted effort to change.
Realize the harm the bias caused. Consider what the bias has cost you in the past. What likely result would you incur if you continued to operate under the same belief?
Understand the negative consequences of allowing behavioral finance biases to continue to taint your decisions.
Decide how you can do better the next time. What do you need to change? How can you prevent the same error from happening again?
Develop a plan that will allow you to work around your natural tendencies.
These tendencies are simply a result of human nature.
Be diligent in order to do better the next time around.
Create a new routine. Make a new routine that will eliminate your bias. Develop a series of questions that will make it clear if you’re being affected by a bias. Questions are a great way to change your focus.
For example, if you are challenged by Herd Behavior (always going along with the crowd), ask yourself why you’re interested in a new investment. Do you really understand the investment? Would you still invest if it weren’t so popular?
Think about the advantages of not being influenced by the biases. You’ve considered the negative consequences of keeping the biases. Now, consider the advantage of changing your perspective.
New behaviors are easier to implement if the advantages of changing are clear.
Continuously monitor your thoughts and decisions regarding your finances. Diligence is the key. Always review your decisions to see how they’re affecting your investments.
Behaviors and thought patterns can take time to change, and some may be harder to stop than others.
Monitor yourself and you’ll surely overcome these biases.
Continue to work through this process. Continuous working on overcoming these biases is a great way to keep you from backsliding. It’s okay to ask yourself, “How can I do even better the next time?”
Remember that you can always get better with everything that you do.
Avoid becoming satisfied too easily.
Removing behavioral finance biases is something that should be undertaken by nearly all investors. The quality of your investments is directly correlated with the quality of your decision-making. The various biases simply reduce the quality of your decision-making and negatively impact your investment outcomes.
Take the time to learn more about behavioral finance biases and monitor your approach to your investments. Change your approach if necessary. You’ll be rewarded with better returns and greater success.

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