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Clutter

Published by: Jay Slagle, CFP® Date: October 20, 2015

I have spent my time moving from one house in the Rocky Hill area to another the past few weekends. While I’m thankful I didn’t have far to travel, the process has reaffirmed my belief that those who move least in life win. Moving is a seemingly endless process of hauling furniture, loading everything you own into boxes, and trying to figure out where it all belongs on the other side. During the move I was surprised by an awareness that many things I owned no longer fit into my life the way they had in the past. I found clothes, appliances, and “stuff” that had once been important but had gone years without use. Over time, when faced with deciding if I still needed something, it turns out I had taken the path of least resistance and held onto it all.  Before the moving process began, I would have told you that I had a good idea of what I owned and that I used most of it on a regular basis. In reality, taking a second look showed me that as my life changed some if it no longer fit.

In a similar way, we often meet new clients with financial clutter. Many folks have spent years accumulating investment accounts, collecting usernames and passwords, and watching their outdated estate planning documents collect dust. Without a process in place to adapt our plan to significant life changes, many individual decisions pile up over time and become difficult to manage. Similar to a messy house, financial clutter often creates anxiety and frustration. It’s a constant reminder that we lack order and may have missed something important. Questions we often hear from prospective clients that tell me there’s an opportunity to help:

  • Where does my income go every month?
  • Do my previous investments line up with my current goals? Can some of these accounts be simplified and consolidated?
  • Have my insurance policies may have outlived their usefulness? Or have new obligations increased the need for insurance?
  • Our wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents may no longer reflect my family’s changing needs.

Most of us are aware we’re not as organized as we would like to be but when it comes time to do something we put it off to another day. The hard truth is that if we continue to kick the can down the road in critical areas we may not like our results in the future. One of the most rewarding parts of my role as an advisor is helping clients create order in their financial lives and enable them to live with intentionality. When a comprehensive plan is in place that shows where you currently stand, helps identify what’s most important to you, and recommends steps to be implemented together to meet your desires then we begin to see stress and worry replaced by peace of mind and confidence.

The difficult news is that most of us need to eliminate financial clutter in our lives. The good news is that we don’t have to do it alone.

Jay Slagle, CFP® is a financial advisor with Rather & Kittrell.  He is available at jslagle@rkcapital.com