Is it Time to Simplify Your Financial Life?

By Jon Theriault

You’ve got a wonderful career, fabulous spouse, terrific kids, rewarding volunteer commitments, fun hobbies that you enjoy. Naturally, you’re passionate about it all. But if you’re like most people I talk to these days, trying to do it all and be everywhere for everybody and everything is taking a toll on you. You’re stressed, mentally fatigued, and often have an overwhelming feeling that you’re trying to do the impossible.

I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers enlightened me about the topic of distraction. Which, in turn, brought to mind a book a friend recommended to me when my kids were younger and life was moving extremely fast: Simplify, by Bill Hybels. Today, between the presentation and the book, a clear picture of what’s going on has emerged in my mind.

The speaker’s emphasis was primarily on how technology has created so much available information, and ways to claim our time, that we are running out of our natural ability to process all we are taking in. In fact, he cited a statistic that blew me away. This statistic was something to the effect of “our brains are taking in over 500% more information on a daily basis than we were only 20 years ago.”

We only have so much mental room for storage, but we are being hit by an ever-increasing barrage of information. No wonder we feel stressed and overwhelmed so often!

Meanwhile, as Bill Hybels points out in Simplify, all of these distractions are pulling us away from the things that are really important to us. Hybels says:

“If we don’t change how we live, our overcomplicated world will begin to feel frighteningly normal. We will become accustomed to life at a frantic pace, no longer able to discriminate between the important and the unessential. And that’s the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter.”

In many ways Hybels’ book changed my life.

So what does all of this have to do with wealth management and RS Crum? More than you might think!

One of our primary objectives as advisors is to help remove the stress surrounding your financial life, which in turn should place you in position to do those things in life that really matter most to you.

In the spirit of simplifying and reducing distractions, I would like to suggest you do a little “Summer Cleaning” (instead of a Spring Cleaning) to “unclutter” your financial life. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Scan important documents and save them to the Cloud.
  • Shred paperwork you no longer need.
  • Organize your year-to-date information for next year’s taxes.
  • Review your estate plan’s beneficiaries, and update as necessary.
  • Consider consolidating your bank and/or investment accounts.
  • Pay down debt with excess cash.
  • Create or update a summary of your accounts, with all important financial information, in case someone else (such as your spouse) needs to handle things.
  • Resist watching financial television and reading financial recommendations on the Internet. Enjoy a good novel at the beach instead!

Of course, summer is also a great time to schedule an annual review with your financial advisor. So open up your calendar and give us a call today!