Raking Leaves

Bill Parrott |

The fall foliage in New England is amazing – full of splendor and beauty. I lived in Connecticut for a few years and the color of the fall leaves were always spectacular. However, they eventually fell off the trees and someone had to pick them up.  

Raking leaves is not an activity I enjoy, a daunting task. This weekend, my yard was covered with thousands of leaves that needed to be picked up.

To attack this problem, I needed a plan for transferring the leaves from my yard to the (environmentally friendly) trash bags. As I surveyed the yard, I decided on three options.

Option 1: Do nothing. Leave the leaves alone and let mother nature take care of it.  

Option 2: Rake them into one giant pile.

Option 3: Start at the front of my yard, work my way to the back and rake the leaves into several small piles that are easy to pick up.

I chose option 3. Breaking my task into small, manageable pieces allowed me to move across my yard with efficiency and skill.

Creating a budget, financial or investment plan may be a daunting task for you and your family. Like a yard covered in leaves, your paperwork may be scattered around your house – unorganized and in disarray.

Here is a guide to help you get on track and organized.

Monday: Gather your bank, credit card, loan, investment, and other financial statements and put them into individual piles. Use manila folders and title each one accordingly to help you organize your documents.

Tuesday: Review your bank and credit card statements to identify where your money has gone. Looking back over the past 5 or 6 months is recommended. Create individual categories such as mortgage, auto, food, entertainment, etc. and enter the data in Excel or write it on a yellow pad. This will be the start of your budgeting process. Do you notice any trends or themes?

Wednesday. Identify your income streams by reviewing your paystubs, 1099s and other income generating documents.

Thursday. Evaluate your investment statements. Write down your account values, asset allocation, dividends, interest, and total fees paid.

Friday. Assess your health, insurance, and retirement benefits. Are your beneficiaries up to date? Do you have enough insurance coverage? Are you contributing enough money to your retirement accounts?

Saturday: Review your estate planning documents: wills and trust. Do they need updating? Do you need to create one? Are your loved ones protected?

Sunday: Rake leaves.

If you approach these tasks day by day, they will be easier to accomplish. After a week, your financial affairs will be organized, and you’ll have started a financial plan. Of course, if you don’t want to do these items yourself, contact a Certified Financial Planner™ to help you create a financial plan and get organized.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time ~ Anonymous

December 4, 2018

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management firm located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process to help our clients pursue a life of purpose.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than those posted in this blog.