A simple life can be a satisfying life, and simplicity can allow you to focus on what matters most to you and what brings you the greatest fulfillment.
But living this way requires effort. Without a plan, our lives can quickly become complicated, unmanageable and less than satisfying.
If you want to build a simpler but richer life, I recommend Elaine St. James book Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter.
The philosophy of simplicity can make a difference in many facets of peoples lives. Today, I am going to focus on 10 easy ways to simplify your personal finances:
1. Automate deposits and savings: Have your employer deposit your paycheck directly into your checking and savings accounts. This way, you dont have to make the decision every pay period to save. Its already done.
2. Automate bill payment: Most companies from utilities to your mortgage lender can automatically deduct payments from one of your accounts. If you are uncomfortable with an automatic deduction, use your banks online bill-payment system.
3. Get rid of credit cards: If you are a regular reader, you know that zero is my preferred number of credit cards. However, even if you dont agree with me, you can simplify your life by getting rid of as many cards as possible.
4. Combine your finances: If you are married, get rid of separate bank accounts. Have one checking, one savings and as few retirements accounts as needed. Separate finances may be a sign of unresolved financial issues.
5. Consolidate your investments: If you are like me, you have opened retirement and investment accounts with multiple employers. When you find yourself receiving a bunch of statements each quarter, its time to pick a single investment company and consolidate as many of your accounts as possible.
6. Consolidate your insurance: Using a single insurance carrier for your vehicle and home insurance likely will get you discounts and reduce the number of statements you receive.
7. Go paperless: Whenever possible, ask the companies you buy from to send statements electronically. Not only is it good for the environment, its great for reducing mailbox clutter.
8. File papers by quarter: Put important tax and financial documents into a single folder for each quarter. When tax time comes, youll have four sets of files to sort. Then you can toss what you dont need and put the rest into a single, annual file.
9. Get a will and other legal documents: Putting these documents in place may not be exciting and fun, but they will simplify the lives of your partner and children. Yes, some day youll need a will.
10. Focus on one financial goal at a time: Multitasking is ineffective and can be demoralizing. Identify a goal and the steps to get there, then climb those steps one at a time.
Simplifying takes a little work, but that work can make life easier and free you from unnecessary complications, worries and frustrations. Try it.
www.PersonalFinanceCoaching.com. Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance.