I’ve done my time as a bank teller, so I know you aren’t keeping track of your finances. Yes, I know that. You blithely scribble checks and never enter them in the register, then you are stunned when the bank charges you overdraft fees. You don’t have a savings account because there’s nothing left over after you pay the bills, and you don’t pay attention to the people who advise you to ‘pay yourself first.’
Yes, I know about you. And so do Regina Leeds and Russell Wild. That’s why they’ve written this absolutely marvelous book called One Year to an Organized Financial Life. “The goal of …[this book]... is to bring clarity, simplicity, and order to your finances.” Please pay attention to these good people.
One Year to an Organized Financial Life is not full of high-minded but largely impractical information about how to choose stocks or invest in mineral rights to secure your golden years. Leeds is known as the Zen Organizer; she understands that clutter around your house or in your car or your purse leads to chaos in every aspect of life, so her role is to help you wrangle all that distracting mess. Wild is a financial advisor who recognizes that wealth grows from small actions, such as avoiding late fees, and he offers you tons of good tips. Together they’ve developed a deceptively simple (and extremely easy) method for whipping your whole life into shape.
Their book is broken down into weeks, with particular assignments that can certainly be completed in that time. Week Two builds upon Week One, and so on. For example, during the first week of your transformation, they ask you to
And then they talk you through each step.
- Set financial goals
- Examine the past for clues to your current economic situation
- Move beyond the past to a successful financial future
The book begins with January, but there’s no reason on Earth you can’t start this program in August or November. Using the Habit of the Month, and the Tool of the Month, you’ll gradually acclimate to an entirely new way of approaching the whole money thing, and in the process you’ll find that the rest of your life is getting easier, too. By the end of the year (and there’s no reason to rush this – take your time, but for goodness’ sake, do it!) you’ll be able to follow the conversations on Fast Money, fully comprehend the importance of reading your monthly bank statement, and sleep better every night because you are in charge.
There are lots of small items that contribute to overall financial well-being, and the authors cover just about all of them. If you pay attention and do exactly they tell you, you’ll learn how to
One Year to an Organized Financial Life is the book that banks don’t really want you to read. Why? Because banks are in business to make money; those interest fees and overdraft fees that you pay are like little gifts falling from heaven as far as banks are concerned. Invest in this guide, follow the advice of Leeds and Wild, and put your money to work for you. Trust me – you’ll learn to love balancing your checkbook.
- assess your money situation
- escape from the credit card prison
- plan and use a budget that works for you
- prepare for the kids’ college and for your own retirement
- pay the bills and pay them on time