Tidying Up My Finances

Earlier year there was a lot of buzz about tidying up due to Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix. After watching the show I decided to do some tidying up myself. Since I prefer not to own a lot of things and don’t own a lot of things there wasn’t much tidying up for me to do. I did manage to make my sock and underwear drawer look a little nicer.

After tidying up my material possessions I considered what else I could tidy up. I decided it would make sense to tidy up my financial life. Last summer I counted all the different places I had money and it turned out I had money in 16 different places. I also had quite a few credit cards due to opening many accounts for the sign up bonuses. Even though I can use an app like Personal Capital to help keep track of all my different accounts it can still be burdensome to stay on top of that many different accounts.

Over the last few months I have closed many of my smaller financial accounts. These were bank accounts or financial apps that I opened for the bonus and then didn’t both to close since there was no fee for keeping them open. Even though there was no fee to keep the accounts open, it was better for me to close them to preserve my mental bandwidth. Some of the financial apps were opened for small $5 or $10 bonuses. Going forward, I will require a more substantial bonus before I open a new account. Although the small bonuses were easy money I still might have been better off using my time on something potentially more rewarding.

I have also canceled three credit cards. Closing credit cards can hurt your credit score which is why I kept the ones with no annual fee open even after they no longer proved useful. Since I have an excellent credit score I don’t need to worry if my credit score drops 10 or 20 points from closing a card. A drop of that amount wouldn’t affect the credit available to me. I have monitored my credit score since closing the accounts and it doesn’t seem that closing them resulted in a noticeable difference in my score. It has stayed in roughly the same 10 point range all year. I’m not going to stop opening up credit cards for the sign up bonus since the bonuses can be quite lucrative. I will be quicker to close accounts that no longer provide me with any benefit after the bonus is earned. Also, when considering which credit card bonus to sign up for I will give a preference to credit cards that provide useful benefits to me after the bonus is earned.

To make my retirement accounts simpler I moved my Roth IRA to Fidelity. I had already moved my traditional IRA over a couple of years ago. Since Fidelity manages my work 401k having my Roth and traditional IRA with them as well makes it easy to see how I’m doing on saving for retirement. I still have a solo 401k with Etrade that I might transfer to Fidelity as well. When opening my solo 401k I chose Etrade over Fidelity for some reason, but I no longer remember what it was. I need to review Fidelity’s solo 401k offering and see how it compares. There is also a chance that I will just rollover the solo 401k into my work 401k or traditional IRA. Now that I’m over 50 and qualify to make catch up contributions to my work 401k and IRA I haven’t been able to max out those contributions. Thus, it isn’t really necessary to have the solo 401k as well.

Making those changes has simplified my finances quite a bit. Since I plan to continue chasing bank and credit card bonuses my finances will not get much simpler. I think getting the bonuses is worth making my finances slightly more complex. For now, I’m satisfied with the tidiness of my finances.

4 thoughts on “Tidying Up My Finances”

  1. I’ve had an obsession with dejunking since I was 12. I read a book by Don Aslett and loaded up 3 huge garbage bags with things I no longer wanted. That’s a lot for a 12 year old! For me clothes are the things that take up too much space. I don’t like to give away clothes that fit with the idea that eventually I will wear them. And I don’t like to get rid of clothes until they are beyond worn, which takes a long time. A couple years ago on Black Friday I bought a bunch of polos from JC Penney for a little more than $3 each. Still haven’t taken some of those out of the plastic wrapping, but I’m working my way through them and toss them once they are stained.

    • For the most part I don’t have a desire to accumulate stuff. That makes it easier to keep things tidy. I also like to wear my clothes until they are about worn out. I don’t buy much clothing. This year all I’ve bought are socks. Last year I only bought socks, one t-shirt, and one pair of shorts. Despite not buying much it doesn’t seem like the amount of clothing I own goes down much.

  2. Cluttered finances is that only reason I haven’t chased all the available bank and CC bonuses. I usually just do one card a year and then stick to it until the annual fee rolls around. I should probably do more.

    Seems like you’re enjoying your time in Thailand. Is it better the second time, now that you know your way around a bit? or would the novelty of a new place be better?

    • You could do 2 or 3 cards a year and still keep things pretty simple.

      Things are easier this time around since I know more about Thailand. This year’s visit can’t be compared to last year’s visit since I’m staying in a small, non-tourist city this year to be closer to my Thai girlfriend. I’m enjoying my time with her, but I’m not experiencing much of Thailand. Later this month I’ll be relocating to a tourist city and plan to post some about that when it happens.


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