Almost a year ago I wrote this post
which describes how great it felt to clean out my house and get things in order. The great purge of 2006 included eliminating 26 bags of clothing, hiring a company to come and shred documents, some going as far back as the '80's, and actually displaying and using things I liked that I had kept hidden away because I liked them too much to use.
For 2007, I continued getting organized in other ways and I am feeling really good about it right now so this post is all about me giving myself a big pat on the back.
The first thing I did was switch financial planners to a fee-based advisor who worked with me to accomplish several things:
1. We consolidated all my money under one administrator, Fidelity. My old advisor was unfortunately with LPL and my big complaint about them (which I found out through one of my mutual fund clients is known throughout the industry) was that for me, the client, it was not easy to transverse their website and their general administration was not very good. I could do very little on-line. Through Fidelity, both my advisor and I can conduct transactions which is great because some things I really like doing on my own and when I screw them up my advisor can just swoop in and fix things (yeah, this really happens. Just helping my advisor earn his fee!) Also, LPL could not consolidate their paperwork so that I had three different accounts from them and three different statements. Fidelity is just one consolidated statement. So much paper saved. And less time with the adding machine.
2. We developed a financial plan. I now know exactly how much money I need to save every year in order to retire when I want to retire. I also know that, if I want to buy my dream vacation home in Palm Springs, I can afford to do that.
3. I worked with a lawyer to set up a trust and the lawyer and my financial advisor moved all my assets into the trust.
4. My advisor and I met with an insurance broker to discuss whether I need long term disability and long term care insurance. I am still mulling over everything I learned and it is on the list for 2008 to make a decision.
Other things I did that make me feel more organized:
1. Though I track my business expenses in Quicken, I was using the same credit card for both business and personal expenses. I finally got a business credit card which has my business name and which I use for all business transactions. It's platinum so it will impress all those clients I take out to big fancy lunches (kidding!)
2. I set up a monthly budget for 2008 so I can really see where my money is going. I know all the big stuff but don't have a handle on all the small stuff that adds up.
3. I fired a client that was using up way too much time for way too little money and banished their file to the garage. It felt really good getting that thick, annoying file out of my filing cabinet.
4. The catalogs I receive have gotten out of hand. All my dad's mail is forwarded to me and he was a catalog junkie. I also accidentally didn't opt out of something when I bought a birthday gift for my niece and nephew online and, since then, I get about three children's catalogs a week (not kidding!) Yesterday, I heard about www.catalogchoice.org and I have signed up for both me and my dad. They say it takes about two or three months for it all to stop but I can decline all catalogs I currently receive though this site. I think the catalog reduction is going to be life changing.
5. I called up my phone companies, landlines and cell, and negotiated better rates. When my car and home insurance come up early next year, I plan to do some major comparison shopping.
So now that I've put this all in writing and see how much I've accomplished I think I won't be as hard on myself as I was going to be for neglecting this blog. Writing more is, however, on my list for 2008.