Marie Kondo Your Finances

For those who are watching Netflix, you may have seen the latest popularity of Marie Kondo, the author of the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo’s book is a New York Times bestseller, and in her Netflix show she goes into families homes and helps them declutter and go through things one at a time, to find joy in their remaining possessions. Families share tears of pain and joy, and by the end of the episode we are all ready to tackle our junk drawers and closets.

Kondo has six rules for her KonMari method:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
  3. Finish discarding first
  4. Tidy by category, not by location
  5. Follow the right order
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

We think that Kondo’s method can easily apply to parts of your financial life as well! Here we help you Kondo your finances:

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Commit yourself to building wealth

The first thing to do is to commit to taking control of your finances and building towards long term wealth. By making this commitment to yourself, you are saying that this is important to you and this is a priority. A good way to get started in committing yourself to take control of your finance is to set aside time each week (Sunday’s are great!), start looking at resources such as setting up an high yield savings account, or talking with a financial coach to prioritize what to do first.

Imagine your ideal financial situation

Take a moment to visualize what financial success looks like to you. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and walk through what financial success looks like today and in the future - 20, 30, 40 years from now. Don’t just go through a high level visualization such as “I will be making enough to support my family comfortably”, but actually go through the detail of a day. For example, you might visualize “walking into the office as a senior manager, grabbing a coffee, and looking at my retirement account of $250,000 on my Mac computer screen”.

Finish discarding first

Kondo emphasizes that you should take each item that you own and figure out if it “sparks joy” when you hold it. If it doesn’t, you should go ahead and discard it, otherwise it is cluttering your life. You can easily apply these same principles to your monthly expenses. Take a look at what you are spending your money on (an easy way to do this is to download a month of transactions) and go line by line deciding if that item actually “sparks joy” or you are not getting much fulfillment from it. As people start to earn more income, they may experience “lifestyle creep” where you spend more because you are making more. This doesn’t have to be the case, and you can easily put that extra income to savings and investing. After you’ve discarded those expenses that don’t “spark joy” and kept the ones that make you happy (e.g., that Pilates class you get an adrenaline rush from) put together a budget and stick to it.

These are the first three KonMari principles that we’ve applied to your finances, and we hope you can find as much joy as we can in your finances!

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