I recently found out some very "interesting" information about an acquaintance that shocked me. The other day Be-Mine and I were out with his best friend and his best friend's wife. The four of us are very together people especially financially. One of the topics of conversation was about a couple who they are friends with struggling to put their old house on the market. A few conversations later we started talking about how prevalent its become for people to just walk away from their mortgages and allowing their homes to go into foreclosure. I remarked about how I just couldn't ever imagine doing that and "wife" brought up the fact that the wife of the couple we were just talking about just walked away from her house a year ago after she got married because she just never listed it for sale with a real estate agent. It was joked that she was more lazy than our two men combined.
This blew me way, how can someone be so lazy that they allow a house to go into foreclosure, especially this individual who I've always know to have a ton of energy and be very dedicated. I'm not certain this is the full story since I am aware that this couple has had some financial troubles in the past and declared bankruptcy, but none the less, I thought I'd explore this idea of being too lazy or just too busy to take care of financial business. I know we are all busy people and some times get stretched way too thin (I'm feeling that pain right now) so I thought I'd recommend some ways to ensure that your financial matters get taken care of no matter how busy you are or how lazy you are.
1. Automatic Bill Pay for recurring payments (Rent/Mortgage, Car Payment, Insurance etc) --- Use it for all of those bills that you know are the same amount each month and you don't need to check before they are paid.
2. Use online banking --- Use online banking to quickly check your accounts on a regular basis so that you do not have to waste time at the end of each month reconciling accounts to ensure that the checks that cleared were correct.
3. Utilize online bill pay --- Don't waste time organizing bills to be mailed on certain dates, writing checks, and stuffing envelopes. I love online bill pay, I receive a bill in the mail and that very day I open it, review it and then schedule payment. I probably spend all of 5 minutes max performing this task.
4. Make Savings Automatic via banking transfers --- Save time and ensure commitment towards saving by having a pre-determined amount of money transfered from your checking to saving monthly/weekly/regularly
5. Make Retirement Savings automatic via payroll deductions --- Sign up for your 401k/403b etc at work and all the paperwork is complete for you. In addition to this you can sign up for payroll deductions to your Roth IRA or other retirement accounts. It only takes a few minutes to sign up with your HR department and then you never have to think of it again for a full year
6. The Number One Way to Ensure you're on financial track despite busy times is to MAKE GOALS AND REVIEW THEM OFTEN --- Every year I set goals for myself - financially, professionally, and personally. I write these down because goals only move from dreams to goals when written, I then create an action plan for each goal and post both my goals and action items in a nifty colorful pyramid and post these in appropriate places. For example my professional goals are posted on my desk drawer, my personal goals which include my running goals are posted on the refrigerator, and my financial goals are posted next to my computer. Goals help you keep your eye on the prize no matter how busy or lazy your are, plus by creating action steps you not only have a starting point towards achieving your goal but also baby steps that can be accomplished even in busy times.
I hope these tips help you stay focused during busy times. I'd love to hear your tips for keeping on financial track when you're busy or if you're just plain lazy?