When I was a kid, I had a collection of matchbox cars – my most valuable possession at the time. They were kept in a special box, so I always knew where they were. Life was simple. Life was good. And that box made me feel secure. Do you remember having a box or place that was special to you?
Time passed and life became more complicated. I collected more things and thus accumulated more boxes. The security I felt as a kid morphed into the stressful and time-consuming task of keeping track of all my boxes.
Many people have overflowing “boxes” of financial stuff – checking, savings, IRAs, mortgages, wills, tax returns, insurance policies, to name a few. A quick survey shows that our average client has 17 such accounts and some have as many as 29.
How can anyone effectively keep a close eye on that many boxes…or accounts?
Opportunity to Improve
Yet monitoring financial accounts is indeed important. Without an easy way to keep an eye on your accounts, you will most likely miss opportunities to improve your financial results. For example, if you combined the investments from all your accounts would you discover diversity or redundancy and too many eggs in one basket? Poorly structured portfolios reduce the rate of growth of your investments, and ultimately jeopardize your chances of achieving your financial goals.
If you aren’t completely satisfied with your wealth management, the lack of an organized and comprehensive view may be part of the problem.
Tools to Get Organized
One solution is a financial dashboard. A financial dashboard is an electronic, secure portal that organizes your personal finances and provides an at-a-glance view of your complete financial holdings (all assets and liabilities) with account values updated daily.
There are several retail dashboard software programs to consider. Quicken by Intuit is probably the best-known. It has powerful cash flow management, budgeting and investment management capabilities. Mint is another product by Intuit, but it is a less robust and less costly version of Quicken.
None of these programs are a panacea. They require ongoing maintenance, which can be frustrating. Electronic feeds from financial institutions (banks, investment firms, etc.) keep the information current, but they sometimes break and must be reset. That can be frustrating and time consuming.
Alternatively, some wealth management firms, such as my firm, PartnersInWealth, provide and maintain a dashboard for clients (we call it myPartnersInWealth). It’s an efficient and effective way for clients to keep their finger on the pulse of how they are doing without time-consuming administrative hassles.
To see a video of myPartnersInWealth click here.
Bottom line, a financial dashboard can make your financial life simple again.
If you did have a box or place that was special to you in your youth, does thinking about it now invoke fond memories? This may surprise you, but if you implement a financial dashboard, over time you will learn to view it with that same sense of security as your box from many years ago. Only this time it will be financial security, and how much is that worth?
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