While going through our 2016 taxes over the weekend, it hit me how many different accounts and deductions the average person needs to keep track of throughout the year. I can see how people get themselves into trouble with missed payments and overdraft fees if they are not organized or ignore their financial responsibilities. It doesn’t take long to lose control! We have over 20 accounts and regular bills to keep track of on a bi-weekly or monthly basis ourselves.
If you prefer a visual representation, take a look at this financial map I put together showing all the different points our money hits on a regular basis.
A quick shout out to Turbo Tax, this is the first year I have done our taxes since 2011 and it was incredibly easy. The most impressive part is how they integrated to all of our accounts and pulled all the information in automagically. Even from our payroll software at work! This is not a sponsored post, I just want to promote something that works well and saves time.
Our Financial Map
Breaking down our Financial Map
- Green – Automated Transfer to retirement account or Bill on Autopay
- Red – Manual Bill Payment
- Blue – Connected account without automatic transfer running (Our Emergency Fund is fully funded)
Our financial map consists of 13 accounts, 10 monthly bills and 1 Credit Card.
At first glance, it looks really complicated, but in reality, we are a pretty average family. We don’t have multiple business accounts, we don’t use multiple savings accounts to save for certain purchases and we only use 1 credit card.
Our monthly bills are pretty normal for a millennial household. We don’t have any store specific credit cards to keep track of and only have one car payment (under $10K left!). If you have a lot of scattered debt, the map will get increasingly more complicated.
Can I remove some complexity?
The first thing I looked at after creating our Financial Map was “Can I remove some complexity”? For us the answer is no, this is about as simple as it can get. We don’t duplicate any accounts. We each have a Roth IRA, 401K and ESPP account that aligns with our financial goals. Nothing stands out on the bill front either, even when we cut cable, we will still have to pay for internet.
I could automate our credit card payment, but since it comes due between our student loans and mortgage I manually pay that one to prevent an overdraft.
If you create your own Financial Map, look for account duplications or if there is an opportunity to move multiple counts under one provider. Our E*Trade account is a good example, we house both Roth IRAs and our taxable brokerage account under a single login.
Our Emergency Fund is broken out into a separate account to get a better interest rate from an online bank. 1% is better than .05% :).
Am I using Automation to make money management easier?
Could you imagine logging in every payday to move money to your retirement/investing accounts?
I can’t. Every month there is at least 30 automatic transfers between our accounts. We rely on it to pay ourselves first and ensure our bills are paid on time. The only other option I can think of is having a calendar reminder setup on payday and every due date. Logging in and out would get old quick, there are 17 username/password combinations!
Automate. Check in. Relax.
Creating your Financial Map
You can create your own Financial Map pretty easily using Draw.io (It’s free). Get a list of all your accounts together and mark which ones are automated. It’s easiest to start with your Primary Checking account and branch out from there.
Don’t forget about accounts through your employer, even though you don’t do much to set them up you still have to maintain and track them.
I went through our most recent credit card and checking account statements to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
If you have one already, or create one in the future send it over and I will link to it in this section.
Using Personal Capital
Throwing a quick pitch for Personal Capital. It allows me to see the balance of every account I care about in 10 seconds with one App login. See for yourself:
All of our investment, general banking and loan balances can be seen using my thumbprint from my phone. If you are interested in trying out Personal Capital you can use this link.
I may receive compensation if you use the above link. That being said I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t use it myself.
How do you keep track of all your financial responsibilities? Do you automate everything that can be? Have you created a Financial Map (I would love to see some comparisons)?