Managing Money When You Are Busy
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA Thursday, 28 March 2019
We all want to devote more time to our money. In the same way, we want to Marie Kondo our homes, get on the Keto train and practice more mindfulness and meditation. But reality and daily obligations have a way of getting in the way of all those aspirations! Instead, we are often bouncing from one urgent situation to the next, be it work, picking up kids, appointments, etc. By the time our feet are up and the TVs are blaring, the idea of managing your investments is pretty far down the list. The good news is that there are some easy, low-effort ways to get on top of your finances and be able to check something off that long to-do list.
Now that we are not beholden to banker’s hours, a lot of our banking can be done online and any time. For example, you should set up auto-deposit at work and have a certain percentage of your paycheck automatically go into savings. This is a wonderful way to save money or build an emergency fund in the “out of sight, out of mind” category, especially at a time when 65% of Americans save little to nothing of their paychecks. 1 Other automation options involve scheduling transfers into retirement accounts, or even having advisors make investments at certain times. Having scheduled transfers allows your money to grow even when you forget that money is being moved. Unlike houseplants, auto depositing helps your savings grow despite neglect, especially if you've had a hard time saving in the past. Setting up as many auto- payments as possible will also simplify your day and keep your household running smoothly with little effort on your part. Most things these days can be set up for auto-pay from car insurance, to mortgages, to credit cards to college and retirement savings.
There are a lot of resources to help get you on track, for a price. Most things in life come down to having enough time, enough money, or enough effort to make up the difference. If you are busy, being able to delegate some of your financial needs to professionals who can help you stay on track and improve your situation can definitely be worth the expense. A financial advisor can look at where you are and where you want to be, then assist in getting you on the right track. In fact, some studies show using a financial advisor can add 3% to your total net worth. 2 Financial advisors can also take the stress away by helping manage your accounts, especially if it’s not an area of expertise or passion for you. Finally, it can be helpful to hire an accountant to get your taxes in order and an attorney can help prepare your estate plan.
Another option is to get all your accounts together in one place so you aren’t having to log into various banking and investment websites. Using an account aggregator like Mint or Personal Capital allows you to track spending, manage multiple accounts, and keep an eye on your long-term goals. Having everything accessible in one place is both a time saver and a more efficient way to keep all those plates spinning.
Banking and financial alerts are one area of smartphone notifications that are actually worth using. In contrast to Instagram which is constantly providing updates when someone likes a photo, banking alerts can flag if an account is running low, if there was any suspicious activity, or provide reminders to transfer money. The three alerts everyone should activate are for low balance, mobile deposit, and unusual activity. 3 In addition, alerts pertaining to stocks can allow you to track/ buy/sell when they hit the right price. Alerts can save a busy person time while avoiding any missed opportunities or overdrafts. There is peace of mind in knowing that your banking apps are keeping an eye out for you even if you aren't looking 24/7.
Finding Ways to Simplify Hopefully some of the above-mentioned options can help you be both more efficient with your money and less occupied by it. Like most things in life, a little preplanning and forward thinking can go a long way. The goal in life is always to strive for balance, essentially that sweet spot between wants and needs, the have to do and the want to do. Taking advantage of automation and outsourcing can free up your time and make your money work for you with little attention, so it's definitely worth at least doing your research. Humans are creatures of habit, but moving a little out of your comfort zone, trusting qualified professionals and secure online sites may help you finally address your finances to check a big item off your to-do list.
About the Author
Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.