Tag Archives: Get Organized!

Clean One Refrigerator Shelf at A Time

English: Self taken pic.

Maybe you can see the connection now. There are a couple of ways to look at the personal finance “refrigerator”, if you will.

Is your fridge full of beer, mustard and party leftovers [from last month]? (Lots of party, no emergency fund)

Is it full of impulse buys like pizza (short-term pleasure) , four types of sauce for chicken (too concentrated), or very few vegetables (not enough diversification), or just not enough real food to make a meal?

Refrigerator

Refrigerator (Photo credit: nickfarr)

Or are you the fussy parent who makes sure that the fridge only has healthy, organic, locavore stuff in it?

Enough with the food analogies-let’s get to work.

Empty Personal Finance Plan? 5 things to do immediately

Check your credit at www.annualcreditreport.com

Get Social Security questions answered here:  http://bit.ly/tTkcoK

Check the status of your emergency fund-how many months of income/expenses are in there?

Add up your debts (yes, all of them) Need a worksheet-check here .

What’s in your retirement plan? How much do you need?

Is your Personal Finance Plan too cluttered, too complex?

Find your old, left behind, retirement plans-assemble statements and account numbers to prepare for transfers

Rebalance portfolio asset classes and match up to your remaining years of work (aggressive, moderate, or conservative funds?)

Time to break up with some financial institutions? http://sm.wsj.com/QD4MwE    or   http://bit.ly/nbNn1W

(Be a financial locavore)

Check your beneficiaries, account titles and make sure that someone else knows where your records are http://bit.ly/tTkcoK

As it said in the blog post that inspired this one:

“Clean off one refrigerator shelf each week so you don’t have to do it all at once.”

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Filed under Everyday Financial Tasks, Learning About Finance

In the Mood: Music for your Money “Workout”

What gets you in the mood…for money management?

Money Money Money Mooooney

Money Money Money Mooooney (Photo credit: Ahmed Rabea)

Blues for budgeting?
Polkas for planning?
Rap for retirement funding?

Jason Zweig has a great list here .  My personal list also includes a few titles not on Zweig’s list.

  • For a calm session of financial sorting, filing and shredding, how about “To Everything There is a Season” by The Byrds?   
  • When thinking about the Great Recession, there are many versions of “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” I enjoyed the late Daniel Schorr’s impromptu version on NPR, and am also fond of the song as sung by Broadway and TV star Mandy Patinkin. Here’s a link to a  rendition on David Letterman .
  • This lively song “Money, Money, Money” (I prefer the Meryl Streep video) reminds us despite the movies, a rich man may not be the best solution.
  • Last but not least, listen to some classic Aretha
Aretha Live at Fillmore West

Aretha Live at Fillmore West (Photo credit: thejcgerm)

to remind us it is good to:

spend your money in line with your values,

respect the hard work of others

and above all, respect yourself with  your spending.

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Filed under Everyday Financial Tasks, Just for Fun

Death in the Family-More Transparency, Please

We had two deaths in my family this winter. Even though I didn’t have many official responsibilities, while responding to other family members and friends of those involved, I was struck by the sheer number of things to carry out in a short amount of time.

To quote my friend E. K.:

 …Just suppose, your spouse, your adult child or your best friend gets a big surprise, that is, out of the blue, he or she is to:
The Bedford ~  safe deposit boxes b&w1) Suddenly handle final arrangements, like a funeral? burial? cremation?
2) Figure out a three-foot stack of ‘papers’.
3) Sort out a lifetime of household ‘stuff’.’

I have created a workbook that will help you prepare for this day, which could be tomorrow, or in 25 years.

This book will also help you prepare for:

  • an overseas adventure-especially if someone else will manage your assets/residence for you
  • a sudden accident where your health care trustee needs to step in and get your bills paid, the dog taken care of and renew your prescriptions
  • any unexpected health situation where you will need help afterwards. (sudden back injury/surgery, torn ACL, hip replacement, stroke)
  • you or your parents (attention baby boomers!) prepare for a move or the end of life.

There are sections for completion on everything from household pets, to important documents, to whom to tell at work if you can’t come in the next day. We all know we should do this, but it is hard to set aside the time and create a record from scratch.

  1. For example, who knows about your small business, if something happens to you? Eight years ago, another friend of the family suffered a fatal auto accident. An owner of a test proctoring company, a computer expert had to be found-STAT, to figure out how break into her email. A scheduled test less than 48 hours later meant that someone else had to be found to give the exam. The other household member didn’t know her passwords. This was a hard task to get done while everyone was grieving their sudden loss.

2. Who will take care of and play with your cat?

Pet my tummy pleaseIf you need to “recruit” a personal representative and have this information ready for them, their job will be easier. For folks out there who have helped their parents with their finances, life planning and downsizing, what have you done to make this job easier? I’d love to hear about your successes.

If you are in Seattle, I am teaching a class on May 23rd where you will receive a copy of the workbook and we will discuss the reasoning for each section. View the class description and sign up at Brown Paper Tickets . [Update] next class is October 10th and November 7th, 2012.

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Filed under Be Prepared