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Is Marie Kondo taking over the world? It certainly seems like it. Everywhere I look people are referencing the diminutive Japanese tidy upper!
If the media buzz has passed you by, let me enlighten you. Marie Kondo is a self-styled organising consultant who authored a book called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ telling us all how we can live better lives by removing all the clutter from our homes, and showing us how to do it. It spawned a Netflix show – Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – which has become a worldwide sensation. Boiled down to basics, the Konmari method involves throwing all your unloved stuff away and then doing a lot of folding!
Joking aside, Kondo’s mantra of ‘treasuring what you have, treating the objects you own as not disposable, but valuable’ has merit. And there is definitely something in it when it comes to money matters. Here are four ways to Konmari your finances:
1. Work out what you want to achieve
Before they start the decluttering process, the participants in Tidying Up are encouraged to picture their house as they want it to be. So start by visualising what you want to achieve financially in the short, medium and long term. Silent praying (a Tidying Up staple) is optional but make sure your goals are realistic, achievable and measurable. We all wish we had a magic money tree but it’s not going to happen.
2. Know what you have
Kondo regularly empties entire wardrobes on to the bed or pulls every single utensil and lidless Tupperware from kitchen drawers and forces people to take a good hard look at their stuff to decide whether each item should stay or go. The same principle can be applied to your finances – a full and frank audit of the good (savings, a will, life insurance), bad (debts) and ugly (badly performing investments, gaps in insurance cover) is essential. And here’s a very easy way to do it: fill in this handy download so you can list all your important documents. You’ll soon be able to see which areas need attention!
The KonMari method is big on categorising. When Kondo devotees sort clothes they tackle every item of clothing that they own, from well-worn favourites to the lonesome socks waiting futilely at the bottom of the drawer for their pair to turn up! Then they move on to another category. Here at Infinity we also favour a categorising approach to finances and recommend each element of a financial plan is tackled in a logical order. The broad categories are as follows: budgeting, debt repayment, saving for an emergency fund, life insurance, health insurance, investing, education and estate planning.
4. Seek to spark joy
To say subjects such as life insurance and estate planning spark joy might be a step too far but if there are any elements of the financial planning list in point three that make you feel uneasy it’s a sure sign that they need tackling. What will spark joy is the feeling of security you will have when all the elements of a sound financial plan are in place and you know that whatever happens to you and your family your finances are robust enough to withstand it.
5. Treasure what you have
Picking back up on Kondo’s ‘treasuring what you have’ mantra, we believe it is important to respect the money you work so hard to earn. It gives you the power to carve out the life you want for yourself both now and in the future and deserves to be used wisely. Every time you buy something you are effectively making a choice so make sure you do it thoughtfully. This will stop you frittering your hard-earned cash on transient tat and push you to make judicious decisions about spending and investing which, when done consistently, will bring huge benefits to your life.
Infinity don’t have any Japanese tidying gurus on our staff – if you’re looking for that kind of advice, I recommend Marie Kondo’s book – but we do have plenty of financial experts who can bring about equally transformative improvements to your life. Do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for excellent advice and a helping hand with tidying up your finances.
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