The four-day Holy Weekend was followed by a three-day Araw ng Kagitingan weekend, and guess what the common denominator in those two long weekends was for me? Tidying! That’s right. My boys are teasing me that I’m becoming a KonMari addict. (Click link for last week’s article.)
Somehow, once you get started, you just want to go on, but I have to pace myself because I’m not a spring chicken anymore. Yesterday’s whole day tidying session has left me with aches and pains all over my body from hours of squatting, bending, and cleaning. And you know what? Because I wash my hands far too many times during the sessions, I must have erased some lines and altered my thumbprint already. I’m not kidding, my iphone is having a hard time recognizing it saying, “Try again!” a couple of times then “Touch ID does not recognize your fingerprint. Please type the passcode.” 🙂
As I read the books of Marie Kondo and go through my tidying process, I can’t help but see some similarities between tidying process and what I teach as FQ. Here are some of them.
- Start with your end goal in mind. Konmari method starts with you picturing your ideal life. Is it a spa-kind of living where everything is in their proper place, with some fresh flowers and scents around the house? Is it knowing where to find those scissors, keys, etc. because they are always in their proper places? Is it having clothes that you look good in, neatly arranged in your cabinets?
The same is true with your FQ journey. Picture the life that you want to have, not just now but well into your old age. Where do you want to live in your 60s and beyond? What activities would you want to engage in at that time? Do you want to travel? Do you want to continue working but on a more relaxed pace? Do you want to leave wealth to your descendants? What standard of living should you have now in order to achieve these goals? It will have to be a balancing act. And knowing the kind of life you want to live is very helpful in your FQ journey.
- Gather everything in one place. Konmari method prescribes that you gather all your belongings under one category in order to see everything that you have. Marie Kondo says that if you’re tidying your clothes, gather all your clothes from different parts of your house in one place. She is quite strict with this that she tells her clients that if the clothes (except those in the laundry) are not in their pile, they should consider those clothes discarded. This usually makes the clients go to other areas in their house to get all their clothes. The reason she does the tidying by category (clothes, books, paper, komono or miscellany, and sentimental) instead of by location is that she wants the client to appreciate how many pieces she has accumulated per category. I think the shock value is important and will help in the following step which is the decision making.
The same is true for your FQ journey. It is important to list down a.) all that you own and owe, and b.) all of your income and expenses. Everything! The first part will be your input for your Balance Sheet, and the second part will be for your Income Statement. If we take stock of what we have accumulated, we heighten our awareness about our spending habits. When we list down our income and expenses, we have a visual and more lasting impression of how our spending relates to our earning. We usually think that our main expenses are food, clothing, shelter, education (if we are sending kids to school). But once you list down all your expenses, you’d be surprised to see that the big part of it are what I call “chichirya” or small things, (some are actually junk so the name is appropriate) that are not necessary but mindlessly bought that add up to a big amount, even bigger than some of our major expenses.
Once you have these two statements – Balance Sheet and Income Statement – you can now try to figure out what course of action to take in order to achieve your number 1.
- The next step in the KonMari method is to hold each item and ask the question, “Does it spark joy?” Keep those that do and discard the rest. This is the signature feature of the method. The aim is not to be a minimalist, nor is it focused on discarding, but on surrounding yourself with the items that spark joy! What a great way to live, right?
In the same way, my FQ teaching always posts the question, “Does this agree with my core values?” Because if what you do with and for money does not agree with your core values, then no amount of money in this world will make you happy. Yes, this is my suggested money compass to people. During a meeting with a prospective client for a workshop last Friday, I told her this, “Any talk about money should always be in relation to one’s core values.” She replied, “Oh my God, kinilabutan ako sa sinabi mo. But that is so true!” And so if the things we do for and with money are the things that make us fulfill our values, then that is nothing but the best life, right?
- The importance of design. The KonMari way of folding and keeping your clothes in your cabinet is so designed that you can see everything at one glance. This enables you to always see the things you own that spark joy, and reminds you of your possessions, eliminating unnecessary or duplicate purchases caused by the usual practice of piling clothes on top of each other, making most of them invisible and forgotten.
Designing your earning, spending, saving and investing is of primordial importance in your FQ journey because it is not our knowledge but ultimately our behavior that will determine our financial well-being today and into our old age. We know that our environment is so designed to make it easy to spend, and difficult to save and invest. The way to combat this is to come up with a design that easily implements the basic laws of money. It should incorporate Pay yourself first once we receive our salary, make saving and investing automatic and increasing, and include periodic checks of our asset allocation. This design limits our spending, eliminates the adverse effects of our emotions getting in the way when we see the market go up and down, and recalibrates our investments to suit our goals. (Please go to Author Archive to read articles on these design features.)
So you see there are indeed interesting similarities between tidying and investing. I hope you apply the above steps in order to live a truly joyful and meaningful life today and into your old age!
- Watch FQ Live! on April 11, 2018 Wednesday at around 2pm as I interview KonMari expert in the Philippines Christine “Tin” Dychiao. Go to FQ Mom Facebook page. Send your questions now so I can ask her during the live interview.
- Watch out for my next book FQ: The nth Intelligence coming out soon. This is in collaboration with ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc.
- Want to know your FQ Score? Take it today. Click link to take the test. http://rebrand.ly/FQTest
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.