3.15.2006

TIP: Ten bucks says you're probably not going to get rid of all your bad financial habits

via CNNMoney - So many bad habits, so little energy to change them. At some point in life, you reach the flaws-and-all years. You accept yourself as you are, complete with sins and shortcomings. Sure, some improvement is possible. But those of us who sip from the fountain of reality realize the changes won't be fast and furious in coming. That's as true of our bad financial habits as anything else. I'm not talking about crippling problems like compulsive gambling, but more everyday behaviors like procrastination and sheer neglect.

Still, just because you're not likely to reform your ways doesn't mean you can't sidestep them. So, here are some ways to outwit your bad self if you're a:

  • Piler-filer drawer stuffer: The thicker your stack of bills, statements and other financial detritus, the more reasons you'll find to clean the bathroom. When it comes to organizing files, forget perfect. Think simple. Keep a single file by your front door, suggests Ruth Hayden, author of "Your Money Life." Throw into it every bill and financial document you get in the mail. Then deal with the contents once or twice a month. You might even do so during your lunch hour at work....
  • Casual spendthrift: You don't have a debt problem. You just gasp a little when you see how much you charge every month buying things you don't really need or even want... exercise the 3-day rule. Write down what you want and then wait three days before buying it. By that point, you may decide to keep your money instead, Hayden said.
  • List-making procrastinator: You organize all the financial stuff you need to do on one list. Exhausted, you take a break ... for weeks. Then you realize you have to add to the list. To take the "sting" out of confronting all your to-dos, Rita Emmett, author of "The Procrastinator's Handbook," suggests that you:
    • Select just one thing to do.
    • Time yourself. Give yourself an hour to finish the task.
    • Ignore everything during that hour...
    • No breaks, no phone calls, no checking email.
    • Give yourself a reward. Do something you love, but rarely have time to do...
  • Accidental investor: You figure a chimp could do as good a job as you managing your portfolio. In any case, he'd certainly do it with more enthusiasm. So keep your investments simple: no individual stocks or bonds, just as few mutual funds as possible.

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk > Ordinary vs Extraordinary > Getting Things Done

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