Things that spark joy: retiring like a badass, saying “thank u, next” to debt, investing in other women, and making a solid plan for your money.
Now’s a great time to declutter that money and Marie Kondo your finances. Because one thing that doesn’t spark joy? Missing out on potential investing returns because you keep putting it all off.
Here are six steps to spring cleaning your finances.
1. Say “thank you” to your finances
First, sit on your floor and give thanks for the opportunities money has given you. Then drag all your finances to your living room (metaphorically) and visualize your end game. Finally, organize them into these categories: Retirement, Debt, Investing, Taxes, and Bills and Budgeting. Easier to see, easier to conquer.
2. File-fold your retirement accounts
Next, ask yourself: Does anything less than a retirement full of doing whatever the hell you want sound good? We didn’t think so. Start investing or upping your deposits into your retirement account today.
3. Dust off your debt plan
Even if it’s through gritted teeth, thank your student loan debt for helping you get the education you have today. And / or that credit card debt for carrying you through when you needed some extra help.
Then see what you can do to make that debt more manageable (or maybe even take it to the proverbial dump). Here’s some important info on student loans. And here’s how to make a plan to pay your debt off.
4. Put some elbow grease behind your goals
Figure out what you love and set some goals. Kids? A house all to yourself? A dream vacay? We’re a goal-based investing platform because we’re less concerned with “chasing alpha” or “beating the market” and more concerned with helping you reach your financial targets.
Then set up automatic deposits into your investment accounts — for your 401(k) at work, through Ellevest, etc. Harder to miss money you don’t see!
5. Get tidy with your tax refund
The best way to avoid clutter in the future? Tidying up along the way. Consider taking that tax refund off the shelf and repurposing it for Future You.
High-interest credit card debt? Pay that sh*t down. No emergency fund? Boom: Now you’ve gotten started. Have both of those covered already? Sweeeet — time to invest in that retirement fund.
6. Organize your budget
Whether it’s a tiered spice rack in your pantry or the way you organize your spending, the key to long-lasting organization is having a system in place. So it’s time to organize your paycheck into boxes, aka the 50/30/20 method of budgeting.
Aim to put 50% of your salary toward needs — like rent and transportation. Then try to put 30% toward fun (that’s important, too), and 20% toward Future You — saving, investing, and speeding up debt repayment.
If you can’t invest 20% right away, work your way up! Start with 1% and gradually increase with every paycheck. A little compartmentalization goes a long way.
And then sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy the tranquility of your new financial living room. Because you deserve it.