Carnegie Investment Counsel Blog

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (4 Ways to Apply to Your Finances)

Posted by William Anderson on Jan 25, 2019 8:22:00 AM

Tidy Up Your Finances with the KonMari method

It is very likely you have heard of the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or seen the recent Netflix series, Tidying Up. This popular system for organizing your house and office, the KonMari Method, was created by Marie Kondo.

What brings you joy?

Kondo and her writings have become incredibly popular both through her engaging personality, practicality of advice, and her simple but deep message.     

tidying-up-with-marie-kondoI am currently using her methods and philosophy to deal with the daunting task of moving and downsizing from a house occupied by my family and myself for over forty years.  And let me tell you, no one in four generations of my family ever heard of the concept of living “minimally” in terms of possessions or collecting!  The vast majority of people are faced with this issue at some point in their life, not only with their own material world, but with that of family members or friends.   

The principal driver of Marie Kondo’s philosophy is that you keep only things that are currently or shortly useful and/or those things which bring you joy.  Anything else should be sold, given away or discarded without guilt or regrets.  With her grounding in the Shinto faith, she also thanks the spirit of the object for its service before discarding it.   You tackle this paring and then re-organize things in your life by category. So, for instance, you begin the process with clothes, then move to books, and so on.  The end goal is an improved life with possessions pared to only by “those items which provide a necessary service or spark joy.”  

It may all sound a bit strange, but I can attest that in my experience the application of her methods and structure works very quickly, successfully and I may even say, happily.  Well I am not sure about the joy stuff, yet, it certainly has worked wonders for my personal organization.  All of this also got me thinking about how the KonMari Method can and should be extended to the arena of personal finances and investing.  It is something that is inherent in Carnegie’s advice to its clients, but should be highlighted:

1. Bring your plans and papers up-to-date

Securely discard or delete those papers that are not useful, likely won’t be useful or are not important.   Have those papers that are important organized and labelled.  

2. Simplify by consolidating financial accounts to a minimum number of custodians

Even after years of working with some of my clients, I am still surprised to find they have multiple brokerage accounts, stock certificates hidden in dresser drawers and semi-forgotten insurance and annuity policies.  

We are happy to help and will do the paperwork for you to consolidate accounts and holdings in a meaningful way.  We also have resources to evaluate insurance and annuity contracts at no cost to our clients.

3. Investment holdings should all serve a purpose (and provide joy!) in terms of a bigger picture

Holdings should not be blindly held because Aunt Bea said “never sell the IBM” or a college friend sold it to you years ago.  At Carnegie, we believe in being able to offer simple answers as to why you own any particular investment, our investment selection process, what the investment represents, what are its risks and how it fits into the goal of providing you with the potential for financial happiness.  The same is true of the discipline to sell an investment that either worked extremely well in the past or failed to perform well.  Thinking should be focused on today and tomorrow, not what has been or could have been. 

4. Check and update beneficiary designations

This may sound obvious, but old IRAs or Designation Beneficiary accounts can become outdated over time. For example, you may have established a trust that should be the beneficiary of your assets, you may have grown children you want to add as a contingent beneficiary or a spouse may be named, who has since passed. For those married more than once, a beneficiary of an ex-spouse that has not been updated could be a nightmare! 

Again, we can review the beneficiary designations with your estate planning attorney and you and bring these up to date.   This is just an additional part of Carnegie’s client service.

At the end of the day, handling your finances and investments should not be a burden or an all-consuming moment by moment worry for you. By hiring us, our goal is that your potential personal joy is supported and endowed from well ordered finances.    

Topics: Financial Planning

William Anderson

Written by William Anderson

William Anderson serves as a Wealth Advisor and Portfolio Manager. Bill handles all aspects of investment portfolio management and client relationships. He offers advice to a diverse group of clients including foundations, professionals in academia, the medical and cultural fields, divorcees, and large family groups.

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