Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of six blogs about Smart Family Finances and ways to improve your decision-making regarding your money. In this article, we will attempt to wrap up the conversations about family finances in a “tidy” package.
In 2009, a series about hoarders began on the TLC television network. Several years later, Marie Kondo provided an alternative to the glitz and glamour of the TLC network series with her best-selling book "the life-changing magic of tidying up" (the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing).
In the ensuing years, Marie Kondo (also known as Konmari) has surged in popularity and decluttering is now its own genre. Hoarding remains a quirky tv show among dozens of TLC viewers. It should not go unsaid that "decluttering" is not a word recognized by spellcheck. Apparently, the art of proper shirt folding trumps cacography*.
The premise of Kondo's practice is to recognize or understand and seek joy — and use that understanding to organize. Two primary concepts are to (1) keep what provides joy and (2) discard what does not, or declutter.
Nowhere is this concept clearer than in the actual typeset of her book title. If you were paying attention above, you would have noticed that Kondo’s publishing company threw off the conventional shackles of the cumbersome (and untidy) capital letters in favor of an all-lower case book title.
The Benefits of Decluttering Your Financial Planning
The recommendations Kondo brings to lifestyle serve as a backdrop for many aspects of financial planning and investing. Simply, both are undertaken to achieve good or joy — including various areas of happiness like family security, personal accomplishment, or community success.
Financial planning and investing follow very similar thinking. You will be more successful if you focus on the plan fundamentals, keep the plan as simple as possible, and minimize unnecessary complexity over the long-term. By Kondo’s standards, joy is enhanced by reducing uncertainty and setting realistic goals.
A Look Back…
So, let's wind back to our prior Smart Family Finance blogs, and consider their alignment with Marie Kondo's principles.
#1 Assessment: The first blogged cheered a habit of assessment, to take time to inventory your situation, and evaluate options. Frequent assessments allow you to toss what is not working and focus on what does work (Lifelong decluttering). Can you strike your joy if weighted down by inaccurate goals, dusty plans, old assessments?
#2 Behavioral Bias: Self-awareness is essential to knowing what you want. What do you believe versus what do you know? Cast-off false narratives and embrace what works.
Click here to read “What Do The Beatles, Financial Behavioral Bias Have In Common?
#3 Nuts and Bolts: Can you quantify your joy, in financial terms? What do you need and what do you want? Increase the effectiveness of planning and lessen the uncertainty.
#4 Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together Throughout Your Lifetime: Are you equipped to evaluate the trade-offs? What gives you more joy: expenditures now, or investing for the future?
#5 Financial Advisors Help You Keep on Track: As a practical matter, many who have used the methods of Marie Kondo may find themselves slipping back to practices not centered on joy. Using financial advisors will help keep you on track as your situation continually changes. While Kondo practices seek to create peace of mind with physical and mental space, your financial advisor works hand-in-hand to reduce mental clutter, improve your decisions, and enhance your peace of mind.
Click here to read “Speak to An Advisor: You Have Everything To Gain”
We all know financial decisions and planning will change significantly over one’s lifetime. Needs change as situations change. With this Smart Family Finances blog series, the key takeaway is that there are many tools and professional advisors available to help you sharpen your own financial instincts and gain more confidence in your decision-making. Bring joy to your life by Mastering Your Wealth — reach out to McKinley Carter for help with your financial and investing goals.
*Endnote: Cacography is defined as “bad spelling or punctuation, especially unintuitive spellings considered as a feature of a whole language or dialect.” [from 16th c.]