Financial Life Focus

How to clearly navigate your financial life

A Little OCD—Just In Time For Spring

Time for a little renewal.

I doubt there would be more than a handful of people who would disagree that this winter has been, well, a little on the harsh side. It is time to come out of hibernation, reclaim your soul from the freezer, say to hell with the New Year’s resolutions and say hello to some Spring cleaning, OCD-style.

Take a breath—you're about to start a wonderful life changing, mind-altering and happiness inducing exercise that will add that spring to your step and make you whistle while you work.  OK, I might have over sold this a tad, but hang with me for a moment and let's see if these scenarios ring any bells. 

Scenario #1: Your credit cards haven't recovered since Christmas. Since the weather's been so crappy you've been scarfing down (insert favorite decadent treat here) and ordering almost anything that catches your eye on Ebay, Amazon or the Home Shopping Network. You’ve started closing your eyes after you hit "Send Order" because you can't bear to see "credit card declined.”

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Scenario #2: The raise you'd been hoping for hasn't materialized. Your expenses (see #1) keep rising along with the general cost of living and your income just isn’t keeping up. You haven’t had a real vacation in three years and you’re feeling burnt out and put upon. You're looking, but that new job hasn't leapt out of the bushes just yet.

Scenario #3: Your 65th birthday is approaching. You have to register for Medicare but the choices are so overwhelming that you're considering skipping this birthday indefinitely. Part A, B, D, a supplemental plan...you just don't feel right about making these decisions and besides, how is it possible that you're 65?

Scenario #4: Your company just changed 401(k) plans and you have to pony up your investment choices. You've had the package for 2 months along with the website address that promises to make it simple—but it’s due Friday. Gargling with sulfuric acid sounds like more fun.

Life happens. We might not be ready to face change, but we get to own it regardless of our readiness to face it.

So this is where a little OCD comes in handy. Think of it as a new way to attack Spring renewal:

1. Own your stuff. It's yours.  You can't give it away, you can't blame anyone else—it's yours.

2. Create a new vision: "How will I feel when I accomplish _____________ ?"

3. Do the Work. What will it take to to get out of debt, find a new job, make sound financial decisions? Start the steps necessary to make your vision a reality.

Because you deserve renewal, regeneration and a fresh start! Go for it!

Michael F. Kay, a Certified Financial Planner, practitioner and a CPA, is president of the firm Financial Life Focus.

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