I recently returned from a very relaxing vacation where I had zero responsibilities. Nada. The most stressful thing I did for an entire week was transfer some money from PayPal to my checking account. I didn’t even write any posts while there, since I had articles scheduled ahead of time. Upon my return, I looked through my list of ideas for future posts and got hit with a big cluestick because the first idea listed was “finding balance”.
Now, I’m sure I had something financial in mind when I originally wrote down that idea, but the truth is it applies to my entire life. I need to step back and re-evaluate where things may have gotten out of whack. For example, while I was on vacation, I had 3 things written on my “to-do” list. The day after I got back I had 20 things on my list — and that doesn’t even include tasks like going to work, making supper, taking care of pets, going to the gym, unburying myself from a week’s worth of mail, etc.
Clearly it’s time to find a little balance between the things I “have” to do and the things I want to do. I need fewer “haves” and more “relaxings”. Which will leave me time for the “wants” — if they’re still wants.
Since this blog is about money, and that happens to be thing “to-do” that’s been the most time-consuming since I got back, I think I’ll start with some questions on that subject.
Can I automate a few more bills? Do I really need more savings accounts than I can remember offhand? Probably not. What about brokerage accounts? I have three of those. Maybe it’s time to see what it would take to get them consolidated into one account. Do I have to sell my shares to do that? If not, which account should I pick? The one that’s ridiculously easy to use (Sharebuilder) or the one that has fewer fees (Zecco)? And is there a fee? (Probably.) Just printing the monthly statements from so many different accounts takes an hour that I’d rather use for something else. I think I have a pretty decent balance between savings, spending, and investing, but it wouldn’t hurt to give that the once-over too. In fact, there’s a whole list of things I can cover, both financial and non-financial.
So I have my work cut out for me. The plus side is that although this may take a little bit of additional upfront work, that little bit of work will eliminate a whole lot of regular, ongoing work & minor annoyances. I can apply this question-and-streamline process to the rest of my life too.
Good Luck! I agree that finding balance is an important thing. I no longer try to do more things than the day has time for. I’m not very old (31) but I find that everything has become too fast and too urgent. I’ve slowed down… things aren’t as critical as everyone makes them out to be and by doing something as simple as that I’ve found a fair bit of balance.
With that said I’m still rushing around from time to time and not everything is in balance but its a starting point. Simplifying life can be done and I think the benefits are entirely worth it.