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Good Advice For Organizing Your Finances

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get your financial house in order?

Check out a new book called One Year to an Organized Financial Life: From Your Bills to Your Bank Account, Your Home to your Retirement, the Week-by-Week Guide to Achieving Financial Peace of Mind by Regina Leeds and Russell Wild.

 One Year to an Organized Financial Life by Regina Leeds

It will change the way you manage your money and set you on the road to financial security.

Leeds (a professional organizer) and Wild (a Certified Financial Planner) pack a lot of information into a book under 300 pages. They never dive too deeply into a sea of financial jargon, either, so if you’re a newbie to this money-saving game, you will understand this book.

The March section is particularly helpful, especially week one, which is about what tax-related information you can save or shred.

June and July are on point in describing how to prepare to retire, and if you’re looking to cut back, flip immediately to April (Spend Less, Save More) and August (Refinance and Downsize Options) – plus September if you have kids (Children and Money).

What don’t we like about the book? It’s big on organizing. Huge. Annoyingly so if you aren’t big on what’s proper feng shui or Zen when it comes to the placement of your desk.

Leeds has written other books, including One Year to an Organized Life and One Year to an Organized Work Life. She views “unorganized people” with the same distain I usually reserve for Bravo’s “Real Housewives.”

January (time to take control) is so full of hanging file folders, slotted tabs and Container Store mentions that we wonder if they’re paid endorsement fees.

And if you’re drowning under financial stress and have no idea how much you have, owe and what interest you’re paying on your debt, advice to re-paint your office and remove family photos from your desk (yes, really), aren’t going to help.

Some of the tips and advice are un-finance related, too, and more comments about lifestyle than money. If I’ve shoved my credit card statements in a drawer for the last three years and had collectors calling me all day, do I really need the advice to drink more water?

Oh, and please disregard the book’s advice to sign up for overdraft protection. Don’t do it. Here’s why.

So here’s what we recommend. Since the month is already half over, read through the January chapter. Maybe it’ll speak to you. Maybe it won’t. Not everyone works in a zone of perfect organization, nor should everyone spend days on making a Zen-approved office.

February is where you should start to pay attention.

The authors also admit that they’re not doing in-depth analysis of these topics, so if you want to know more about a chapter, your best bet is to get an entire book on the subject.

Two we’d recommend are Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier & Healthier for Less by Leah Ingram if you’re looking for a book on cutting back, and 10 Laws of Career Reinvention by Pamela Mitchell if you want more information on how to make money from your passions.

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