Wallet Hacks

Drawing Your Financial Map

At one point, I once had over a dozen checking accounts.

I was doing reviews for my previous personal finance blog and since opening a checking account didn't hurt anything, I kept opening them and reviewing them.

After a few years, I had a dozen checking accounts. I'd have ten bucks here, twenty bucks there, and it was a total mess.

It was awful.

As I started closing them, I realized that I didn't have a good idea of how any of my accounts were connected.

Which bank account was automatically paying my credit cards?

Which bank account was connected to my Vanguard account?

For the checking accounts, I didn't care. I was closing them.

But for the important accounts, I had no idea and that was a problem.

So I did what any engineer would do, I drew a map.

You can draw your map however you like, I think it's best to go with something intuitive, but mine was relatively simple:

Now that you have the financial network map, prune it. Chances are there are things in there that don't make any more sense and you can close down those accounts and adjust the map so it's simpler.

And if you haven't done it already, it's time to put together a money field manual to put into prose everything you know in your head.

Here's what our financial network map looks like today (with color coding!):

Complexity can be a source of problems and a cognitive weight you don't need, so make your life simpler. Fortunately you have a map to show you how! 🙂