With only 24 hours in a day, most of us don't have a lot of spare time. So why do so many people make their financial lives more complex than they need to be? Simplifying your financial life will free up more time for what is really important -- family, friends, your health ... and no, I am not including Facebook. It will also increase the chances you can achieve your financial goals.
Here are three examples of how over-complicating your financial life can lead to problems, not solutions:
Investing: Many people have accounts at three or four different brokerage companies or old 401k plans, and within those accounts, they own dozens of individual investments. There is no advantage to doing this. You can buy the same products at Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard and a hundred other firms. You can also buy 1-2 mutual funds that have the same diversification -- or more -- as owning hundreds of individual stocks and bonds.
Consolidating incurs no significant cost. And there is a huge benefit: it's far easier to track what you have. If you don't know what percentage of your investments is in stock vs. bonds vs. cash, that's a problem. Keeping everything in one place is a solution.
Insurance: Most higher net worth individuals purchase home, auto and umbrella liability insurance, which provides protection on top of the underlying home and auto policies. If all three policies are not with the same carrier, the umbrella may not cover everything, exposing you to unnecessary risk.
Budgeting: It's critical to track your expenses; otherwise, it's hard to plan or know if you can afford your goals. But if you have 5+ credit cards, plus multiple bank accounts, it's hard to track spending. Are the mileage deals really that great?
Yes, there are technology solutions to some of these problems. And yes, if you work with a comprehensive financial planner like Old Peak, we can help you keep track of all this.
We do use technology to consolidate our clients' financial pictures. But, first, we adopt the "KISS" principle. We help clients transfer and close unnecessary accounts, consolidate insurance and work to simplify budgeting. Then we layer technology on top. The goal: helping our clients reduce the number of balls they have to juggle.