How Many Ladders Do You Have In Your Financial World?

by Guest

The following is a guest post from Michael at Money Beagle, who believes that a balanced approach to money management is the key to financial success. He blogs about many personal finance topics, from getting out of debt, to saving for retirement, to tips on staying clutter free around the house, with an emphasis on ‘personal’.

A couple of years ago, I was on a project that was part of a major construction undertaking. I can’t remember the size of the building but it was a few hundred thousand square feet.

My involvement had me going pretty much every which way, top to bottom, front to back, and side to side. Often I was there during off-hours, when there wasn’t a whole lot of construction activity going on, other times I was there during the thick of it. The whole thing was incredibly fun to watch, but one of the things I was struck by was…

…the sheer number of ladders that were around the building.

yokos ladders

Almost every room or hallway seemed to have a ladder. Going in the stairwell. There was a ladder. Headed over to this room. A ladder. That room. Another ladder.

I actually started thinking about all those ladders.

I’m sure every individual or company marked their ladders.

Did they count them up before they went into the building? Did they count them all at the end of the project? How many companies ended up with more or less ladders than they started off with?

Whose job was it to deal with any ladders that were left on the site after all the construction workers cleared out? Did they call each company back to get their leftover ladders or did they just stick them in a storage room somewhere? Or are companies that precise that every ladder was cleared out?

It got me thinking, if all those ladders existed in this construction project, how many ladders exist in our financial worlds? Picture your financial world as a building layout. Do you know how many ladders you have lying around?

Can you account for every ladder? Where is it? What is it there for? How many bank accounts do you have? Credit cards? How many checks or automatic payments do you have on a monthly basis?

If you don’t know, then guess what? You’ve lost track of some of your ladders!.

That building has been open for around three years now.

Every once in a while I wonder just what happened to all the ladders in there.

Do you work to simplify your finances? If necessary, would you be able to round up all of your financial ladders?

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Jai Catalano April 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

I sometimes wish I had 1 steady income but then I realize 8 or 10 is hectic but much more fun when you pull it all together. No lie I have about more than most people would care to handle. Thankfully they all tie in somehow.

Julie @ Freedom 48 April 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Despite having multiple sources of income and many different bank accounts/investment accounts… I’m able to keep track of it all – through the wonders of Excel spreadsheets! lol. Without Excel I’d surely forget about some of our “ladders”

DeniseGabbard@WriteandGetPaid April 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

A series of ladders is a good analogy– as I was reading your post I was thinking of all my different projects that I work on at any given time. Thank goodness for computers and project management software–or somebody could swipe one of my ladders and I would never know.
Same with the bills and bank accounts, etc….spreadsheets are definitely our friends.

Melissa@PersonalFinanceJourney April 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Fortunately (or unfortunately as far as organization is concerned), I have about 20 to 25 small revenue streams. That is a lot of ladders to keep track of! It actually takes an hour or so of my time weekly to keep track of it all.

SB @ One Cent At A Time April 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I have various investments and funds. at times it does get difficult to manage.

eemusings April 17, 2012 at 4:04 am

Ooh, great analogy and a nice post!

I have all my accounts with just two banks (plus my retirement scheme). I have one credit card, one regular autopayment (rent every week) and several savings accounts. Although, come to think of it, I may still have some money with two more banks set up for me when I was still a kid. Hmmm…. must look into that.

Charged Off Chuck April 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Dont laugh I manage all of my investments, accounts etc with my email. Im too lazy to use a spread sheet so I created email files and send myself emails all of the time and file them away. This works great for personal reminders as well.

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving April 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Our financial ladders are all over the place, but through some strange miracle, I’m able to recall them all. Maybe I should consider consolidating some to keep things more simple. Great post. 🙂

Money Beagle April 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

Thanks to all for the great comments on my guest post and a special thanks to Kay for graciously agreeing to post my article on her blog, which is one of my favorites. Have a great weekend, all!

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