I HATE PAPERWORK!!!!!!Carol Craigie, CFP®
Geesh! For what was supposed to be a paperless society, I sure get lots of papers….and emails that are like paper…they need to be tracked and dealt with. It seems like some small thing needs to be dealt with like calling the bank and getting a charge reversed or updating somebody’s forms and that thing will take an hour and it has to be done during business hours and…..! put it to the side to deal with…later.
You know what I hate more? The financial and personal costs of NOT being organized and dealing with it. Let’s hit the costs first and then some strategies for getting more organized and on top of paperwork!
- It costs money – lots of money to be disorganized. A few years ago, I was helping a client organize her papers so we could find what was needed to do a financial plan. I started adding up the fees from late bills, extra interest, failure to file claim, missed coupons, charges for missed appointments, lost expired gift cards, consequences of lower credit card score. For the one year, it added up to $2,340!!!!! That’s a great vacation! 23% of adults pay bills late and incur fees because they can’t find their bills.
- It wastes time. The average employee wastes 6 weeks per year looking for important documents! The average American wastes 12 days a year looking for stuff we own. One interesting study shows that men whose home offices are organized spend more time playing with their children.
- When crisis hits, it doubles the crisis. If you need your medical powers of attorney, the list of prescriptions and last surgeries while on vacation, that’s a crisis….unless you have a secure cloud folder with the critical stuff ready to be accessed. A car accident where you’re in the hospital and unable to deal with your bills? Family is willing to help but have no idea how your files are organized, how to access your online bill pay, which bills are auto and which aren’t and there’s no system?
So the benefits are more time, more money, less stress and confidence that we can have just one crisis at a time. That should be enough motivation! But wait, it also makes managing your finances for the rest of the year MUCH easier AND you’ll be ready for taxes next month.
What stops us?
- Lack of a system & knowledge – I don’t mean just a filing drawer and files but a clearly defined system that says what has to be addressed before being filed, what can just be shredded, what gets filed where, how long it is kept and what needs to go into a secure cloud folder, bank vault, paper file or wallet. One that can be shared with others if they need to find your stuff and people identified that have access to the appropriate secure cloud folders.
- Fear of time it will take – Club members who have been dragging their feet on this project through it would take a whole weekend and then some to get through their piles. Turns out it just took 3 hours once they got into it. After squabbling, they found the fun. They even got the kids involved in shredding. Their joy and stress relief was obvious on their faces.
The Monthly Challenge for January is: GET ORGANIZED! Paperwork management.
If you are a FFC club member or individual client, this class, they system, the secure cloud folder are all part of your membership. Your coach is there to help answer questions and quickly resolve issues about whether that piece of paper is needed or won’t do you any good!
If you are not a club member but want to take on this challenge, you can sign up for just the one challenge for $59. Just send an email to info@fiscalfitnessclubs letting us know the challenge you want to take on!