What would it take for you to finally feel organized? What would it take for you to embody your “most productive self”? Far too many of us have been waiting for nearly two years now to settle back into old routines and a post-COVID “return to normal” that simply may not ever come. Our lives are never going to look quite like they did in 2019 or early 2020. More of us are now working remotely. Many of us found that we actually kind of liked not having to travel as much for work. Some of us were finally able to go back to get that MBA we’d been considering, thanks to new options for online education. The point is that as we’ve found our new post-COVID routines, we also need new, post-COVID techniques for being our most-productive, most-organized selves.
We knew exactly who we needed to call to help us dive into this topic and teach us all a better way — Julie Morgenstern, one of the world’s leading experts on organization, productivity and time management. She is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including ‘Organizing From The Inside Out” and “Time Management From The Inside Out.” (If her name sounds familiar, that’s because her episode on productivity in 2020 was one of our most popular of the year!)
Listen in as Jean and Julie tackle home organization and paring down, and what it was about the last couple of years that made us want to get more organized, and get rid of unnecessary things. (What is it about clutter that impacts us mentally? Because it actually impacts our emotional health, and our career health!) Julie walks us through some of her best techniques for getting rid of clutter, and paring down, and explains how we know what to keep, and what to get rid of.
We also tackle organization in our careers, because over the last couple of years, millions of women realized that our current situations, our working lives and our schedules just were not working for us. Over the last few months,, so many millions of people left their jobs, it’s been heralded as the “Great Resignation.” Julie weighs in on what she thinks is driving this, and what a mass exodus like this says about how we had our working lives organized, and our time prioritized.
On the topic of time, we also talk about burnout. Women reported higher levels of burnout than men last year, and at the same time, our working hours are up — the average workday lengthened by 48.5 minutes in the weeks following stay-at-home orders and lockdowns across the U.S., and the number of meetings and internal email activity also increased, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. What can we really and truly do about it?
We also talk about the return to work that’s happening nationwide. There’s a disconnect between what management & employees want in a return to work — 83% of CEOs say they want people in the office, but just 10% of employees want to return to the office full time, according to a recent survey by the Best Practice Institute. Julie gives us her thoughts, and walks us through what can we do if our working lives just aren’t set up in a way that works best for us.
In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who just got a raise, we advise a listener in NYC on where to put her money, and we do a retirement readiness check for a listener in Hawaii. In Thrive, your 2021 holiday budget.
Julie Morgenstern: (00:02)
In the workplace, people don’t talk about time. They hand people assignments, you get an assignment. Who is asking, “How long is that going to take? And when are you going to do it? And is it worth the time invested?” Nobody.
Jean Chatzky: (00:20)
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Jean Chatzky: (00:38)
Hi everyone. I’m Jean Chatzky. Thank you so much for joining me today on HerMoney this morning, as I was prepping for this show and going through a whirlwind morning ritual for me of wiping down the counters and putting away the mail and emptying the dishwasher and grabbing a quarter of a bagel all at the same time, I asked myself a question, which I want to ask all of you now, what would it take for you to feel finally organized? What would it take for you to embody your most productive self? I want to ask this and do the show right now because far too many of us, myself included have been just waiting to settle back into old routines, to explore a return to normal. That is all of a sudden dawning on us that it may just never arrive. Our lives are not going to look the way they did in 2019 or early 2020.
Jean Chatzky: (01:44)
We’re now working remotely. Many of us found we actually kind of liked not having to travel as much for work. Some of us were able to go back to school, thanks to new options for online education. Some of us have just quit. Our jobs joined the great resignation, shaken everything up. The point is, as we found these new post COVID routines, we also need new techniques for being our most productive, most organized selves while still by the way, having a life. And I knew exactly who I needed to call to help us dive into this topic and teach us a better way. Julie Morgenstern is back. You know, Julie, her last episode on organization was one of our most popular episodes of 2020. She is one of the world’s leading experts on organization, productivity, time management. She’s the New York times. Best-selling author of a number of books, including organizing from the inside out and time management from the inside out and her workplace productivity and work-life balance title never check email in the morning is now the basis of a popular training program conducted in fortune 500 companies. Today. She’s going to help us get our heads on straight as we head into 2022, Julie. It’s so good to see.
Julie Morgenstern: (03:15)
That’s great to see you too. Jean. I’m so much appreciate being on the show again and coming back and talking chaos, taming that CAS,
Jean Chatzky: (03:24)
Oh, taking the chaos out. I mean, I can handle chaos for a while. And the last time you joined us was right before all this chaos hit. It was to kick off the year in 2020. You told me before we got on air here, that your business has just exploded in the last 18 months or so. I’m not surprised to hear that, but I am wondering what struggles you’ve been hearing most often, particularly from women.
Julie Morgenstern: (03:55)
Yeah. So I mean, the world went into chaos. You talked about going back to old routines. Any routine we had for better for worse was thrown up in the air. We’ve been in constant motion, honestly, of like reorganizing reorganizing. We talked about the great resignation. It’s also the great reorganization and it’s not done yet. I would say the greatest strain on women has, especially working women is feeling torn and split into with remote work. And during the remote learning, I mean, women were just getting crushed because our work days got more intense during COVID not less right? Like in the beginning of COVID it was so funny. I was like, okay, everybody now, you don’t have a commute anymore. You can use that commute time for self-care within moments, all companies started, oh, let’s have meetings from seven to 8:00 AM. Oh, let’s have meetings from six to seven to 8:00 AM.
Julie Morgenstern: (05:03)
And I gave a presentation yesterday to a global management team for a global company. And they were saying the time got so out of control because during COVID they felt this burning need, and this were women’s speaking by the way, it wasn’t just a female audience, but the women spoke. And they said, we just felt like we had to be as visible as possible when we were working remotely. Because if we weren’t visible, then maybe they didn’t think we were getting our job done. If we weren’t getting our job done, we wouldn’t keep our jobs. So the meeting overload became intense. People have been in meetings from 6:00 AM to midnight, and then trying to also take care of the house, take care of the kids, make 1,000,001 executive decisions. That’s where the burnout is coming from. People are just tired of making executive decisions. They’ve been making intense executive decisions for 20 months. Do I go out, do I not go out to, we wear masks? Do we give vaccine? We don’t get vaccinated. Do what about the kids? Do we have Thanksgiving with people without people, women are exhausted. They’re really, really burnt out
Jean Chatzky: (06:13)
And managing that burnout while trying to get your life back on the rails or on some semblance of the rails is where I’d like to take the first part of this conversation. Let me just tell everybody we know Julie is an expert on time and she’s an expert on stuff. And we are going to talk about both, but we’re going to start with time. What are your best suggestions at this point in the pandemic when maybe your company has said, all right, we’re not going to email you at all hours of the night. We’re not going to schedule as many zoom meetings, but maybe they haven’t. What can we do at this point in the pandemic cycle to take back control over our time, whether we’re working out of our kitchen or whether we’re heading back to the office?
Julie Morgenstern: (07:06)
I would say if there were only one thing that everybody were to do to get back in control is to reclaim renewal time for yourself. And I am speaking to every woman listening. I do not care how demanding your job has been or is what’s going on with the kids. The first thing is to refuel, but refueling is not a one and done thing. And I think that’s the mistake people have made and why this burnout has been so extended is we thought, oh, like I took labor day weekend off, or I took a vacation this summer, or I did have some downtime. Why am I not restored? And you’re not restored. I equivocated to like a marathon. When you run a marathon, you don’t drink one glass of water to get rehydrated. You need electrolytes, you need right. You need Gatorade, coconut water, you need extra, extra, extra nutrients to rebuild because you were operating on a depleted state for so extended a period.
Julie Morgenstern: (08:18)
So why we think, oh, you know, I have my weekends back and now I’m fine. We need more than that. So what I’ve been saying to clients and what really seems to help is take control and build in a minimum of one daily anchor, which is time for yourself doing something that is so renewing and recharging to your soul. And you do it every single day. So it could be in the morning, you take a 20 minute walk before work or after dinner, you do something like that. Go ahead. I see. You want to ask question?
Jean Chatzky: (08:55)
You sort of answered it. You said 20 minutes. I mean, I’m sort of wondering how much time and what counts as something renewing to your soul, right? I mean, I’m a runner. I think you know that about me. I love to run. I try to make time to run. Does that count? You’re not talking about spa treatments. You’re talking about something that we can do on a regular basis. Yes.
Julie Morgenstern: (09:18)
So two things to answer your question. One, what constitutes renewal activities and two, how much time do we need to? So first what constitutes? I always use the word self as an acronym for the elements that restore our energy and our soul. So think S E L F S is for sleep. Get your sleep in order, if you are only getting three or four hours of sleep, nighttime is the only time you take for yourself. And so you’re on Instagram and social media and the news sleep cannot be your only form of self care can not because then you won’t get enough sleep. So restore your sleep or rest during the day, there’s ease for like exercise or movement like running or stretching or yoga or something. L is for love. It’s the relationships, right? The relationships in our lives, not transactional, but like, I want to hang out with, I want to just be with my spouse or my friend or my mom or my dog that’s for relationship and F is for fun. And that’s your hobbies or your passions that whenever you do them, you just, it feels like you feel like you sleep. Exercise, love fun. Those are the components of self-care.
Jean Chatzky: (10:38)
And we build time in every day for one of those four, I mean sleep. Okay. Let’s put sleep off to the side. We build time in for the others every day, one a day, two a day,
Julie Morgenstern: (10:50)
I would say you should have two daily anchors and they should be about 20 minutes, not an hour, not three hours. We cannot get those big chunks of time consistently. But if you have one morning daily anchor, which could be some form of exercise or relationship or hobby, something that is just so even arrest, I got to get up at 5:00 AM to do X, and I’m going to take a rest at 11:00 AM for 20 minutes. And that is my me time. And I’m not going to be on my cell phone during that I’m going to arrest. So a morning anchor and something toward the end of the day, 20 minutes or less. And don’t try to make it longer because then you won’t be able to do it. But 20 minutes we can all find 20 minutes. Cause we’re stealing 20 minutes left, right. And center when we’re on burnout anyway.
Julie Morgenstern: (11:40)
Right. And I think if you just build it in as a regular, I have a client who discovered that like their day goes better when they meditate, but they sometimes get too busy. And I was like, well, how long do you meditate? Well, I meditate for 20 minutes. And I said, if you can’t fit in 20 minutes, fit in one minute, don’t skip it. And they were like, oh, that’s so true. Even one or two or five minutes of your daily anchor, it’s your moment with yourself to fuel up. It doesn’t have to be long. It has to be consistent.
Jean Chatzky: (12:17)
I think that’s so right. Yeah. I mean, I think about this sometimes I can’t get out for a run, but I can do a 10 minute arm class on the Peloton. Right. I can get that in.
Julie Morgenstern: (12:28)
And if you take the choice out, I think what happens with renewal is we make it like if I have enough time and if no one else needs me for anything and I don’t have any deadlines and everybody leaves me alone, then I will take time for myself. And I think the radical change, the sort of Xcelerate to restoring our depleted souls is to take that choice away. All you’re going to decide is every morning at this time I do this for myself and every like toward the afternoon or the end of day, separate from sleep. I do this for myself. Whether I can do it for 20 minutes or five minutes, I’m going to do it. And I’m not going to decide the decision is there. Whether I feel like it or not, whether everybody needs something else from me or not, I’m doing it.
Julie Morgenstern: (13:14)
And I have not seen it fail, but it’s to sort of restore you because it’s a regular fuel. It’s very different than, and as we came out of this trauma, this sort of global trauma, collective trauma, we were just taking care, taking care, taking care in rescue mode and reactive mode for so long that you can’t wait for stuff to stop coming at you to take care of yourself. You’ve got to just jump back and we’re fine. And if you do that, you just find that like all the stuff coming at you, you’re able to decide and discern what’s really important. And what’s not really important because you took those moments for yourself to step out of the chaos and like be, and then the chaos comes and you’re like, ah, I don’t need to do that someone else. And do that.
Jean Chatzky: (13:59)
Totally agree with you. And then the moment comes where the person asking you to do that is your boss or your employer. So we know that work hours are up. The average Workday is up by about 49 minutes following stay at home orders. Following lockdowns, as we were talking about, the four meetings are up. Email activity is up. If it’s your boss or your employer asking for this stuff, asking you to do this, what can we really do about it?
Julie Morgenstern: (14:40)
I think you need to start the conversation, but not in the moment, right? If this is a pattern and you recognize this as a pattern, you don’t in the moment like this one time, it’s like, come on, I need to go to my yoga class. I need to put my kids in bed. I need to take a minute for myself. You don’t do it that way. It is true that we have really tilted toward these extended work hours. The loss of boundaries between work and home, it’s all studied. It’s been surveyed it’s. Everyone is highly conscious of it. And you should start the conversation I have been talking about for many years, I was talking about a concept called time leadership and time leadership is different than time management. It’s a concept that emerged in my thinking when I was working in companies and doing time management workshops and employees were like, this is great.
Julie Morgenstern: (15:37)
I love it. Yes. I’m going to carve out time to think I’m going to carve out time for myself. I’m going to do all those things because it’s going to make me a better worker, but then they would like try to apply it. And they would realize they’re working in an environment that is working against their ability to practice good time management. Because time is not only an individual resource and skill. It’s actually a collective resource and skill. And every company has a culture of time that is present. That everybody feels. And if anybody listening is like, oh, if you work, you’re like, oh yeah, we have a crazy time. Culture. People are working 24, 7 being busy as a badge of honor, we’re in a meeting overload culture. We’re in an instant response culture and time leadership recognizes that time is not just an individual, but a collective it’s about taking ownership of both your own time, because how you operate impacts others for better or worse and also collective time. And it starts with having conversations. You know, it’s so interesting gene, when I, as I’m having this conversation and reflecting on this time, like money is typically a taboo subject who talks about time, really? Other than to complain about it in the workplace, people don’t talk about time. They hand people assignments, you get an assignment who is asking, how long is that going to take? And when are you going to do it? And is it worth the time invested? Nobody. That is
Jean Chatzky: (17:16)
So interesting because they’re both. I mean, when we think about limited resources, right? Money is definitely a limited resource. Time is the more limited resource
Julie Morgenstern: (17:27)
And there’s shame around not having enough of it. So when you are working and your boss is asking you for giving you yet another project, and you’re already 35 hours behind on your to-do list there, shame in speaking up, people are like, well, I’m not going to say I don’t have time to do that. So the culture around it is time is our own problem. If we’re behind, it’s our own problem, we can’t speak up because it’s going to make us look like we are not a competent worker or capable worker. And so, but if people don’t talk about it, it just piles on and piles on a piles on, and it’s, nobody’s being a time realist. Nobody has time conscious, right? And you’re just handing people work. And that’s why there’s a great migration, by the way, that is a big piece of the group. My people are like, I am not subscribing to this culture of overwork anymore.
Jean Chatzky: (18:26)
If you are in a culture of overwork, if you are working for one of those companies where it is 24 7, and that’s the way the person running the company has always practiced. That’s the way they like it. Do you have a choice other than to leave?
Julie Morgenstern: (18:45)
It’s tough. I will say if it comes straight from the top, if this is the CEO, if it’s the CEO, you’re in trouble. If the CEO is operating in that way and really doesn’t see anything wrong with it is not unhappy. And it does, it really can happen from the top that way. Right. Which is just like, there are some CEOs that are, they love work. They define themselves by work. Honestly, it’s a generational thing by and large, it really tends to skew like our generation where the workaholics, right. And this younger generation is like, I want to do well at work, but I don’t really want to give up my family life, my health, my community. So if it’s really the CEO and there’s no time consciousness at all, then yeah. You’re probably not in a great place. Banking has been one of those industries that has, they’re really having trouble reinventing work. They want to go back to the way it was, but they’re losing junior bankers left right. And center, right. People are like, I’m out. I don’t want to live like that lawyer
Jean Chatzky: (19:57)
Here’s to these businesses that when you and I graduated from college and people weren’t wanting to go into and work 24 7 it’s yeah. Those are the workplaces that have had to either shake things up or suffer a real loss of talent. I want to talk a little bit about the return to the office that is happening. That some companies are trying to make happen. There’s this disconnect between what management and employees want. Their 80% of CEOs say they want people in an office just 10% of employees want to come back. Full-time that’s a recent survey. What are you hearing from women? And what do you think is the best compromise?
Julie Morgenstern: (20:40)
Yes. So I’m definitely hearing from women and like studies show, there’s a McKinsey and lean into a study every year, women in the workplace. And in 2020, they found that one in four women were considering leaving the workforce because it was just didn’t recognize them as whole people. Right. It was just all greedy, greedy jobs. As they say in 2021, you would think that number may have improved. It actually got worse. Now one in three women are considering leaving and it’s because the curtain has been pulled back. We are whole people and companies need to recognize as they go back to work to do that. And I’m working with a lot of companies who are. So even though I’m saying like, do you have any choice? If there’s like one CEO that is over 60, that it loves the way that works. Yeah. I would say go elsewhere.
Julie Morgenstern: (21:34)
But mostly it’s an unconscious thing. And people really are trying. Here’s what I think is a compromise. I think the truth is that there is an antidote to the culture of overwork that does not sacrifice company success. And if you recognize that, that is why anybody’s holding onto the back to work. We want to go back to work because we were successful that way we wore our people down, but we were successful. You need to kind of conceptualize, how do we restructure our work lives, combat the overwork without sacrificing company success. So we still have to achieve company goals, et cetera. So my thinking about through this pandemic, and I think every leader in every company and every worker can talk to their boss about this and start the conversation. The antidote is to recognize it. Every single worker, you and everyone you work with, plus your boss.
Julie Morgenstern: (22:30)
Plus everybody needs five kinds of time in order to actually thrive at work, as well as, as a human right to bring up peak performance. And what are those five types of times? So everybody, listen, everybody needs time to think, right? Uninterrupted, not in a meeting like solve problems, innovate, create, come up with the next strategy. Everybody needs time to think. Everybody needs time to meet. Not all day. They need some meetings, right? Not no meetings, but not all day. All meetings think meet, respond. We have to respond to each other. Right? We got to get back to people on email or slack. They have questions. We need time to connect, which is different than responding. And that’s been the missing link in the pandemic, which is how do you develop a relationship and a hybrid workplace when we’re not all in? And we all need time to renew.
Julie Morgenstern: (23:28)
Think, meet, respond, connect, renew, connect, and meet. Yeah. Connect and meet. There’s a difference. There is. So in meeting is really a two is somewhat transactional. Every meeting should have a very definitive outcome. And if it doesn’t, then it’s a waste of everybody’s time. Why are we meeting? What do we want to produce out of this meeting a decision alignment on an idea we want to brainstorm three solutions. What is the outcome of this meeting? Meetings need to be outcome oriented. Transactional. Really. We’re here to do something connecting, which is what is the harder thing to do. We’re not trained to do that in a remote environment is relationship building. It’s mentorship, it’s networking, it’s even onboarding somebody like new hires that people don’t know how to do that remotely in an effective way. So it’s about a little breadth. It’s about really like connecting human to human we’re professional to professional.
Julie Morgenstern: (24:35)
But without like a deliverable, it’s getting to know each other so that you don’t feel you’re working in isolation. So the people you work with, you feel that glue it’s different and we need to be conscious and creative and systematic about that now, so that we feel a sense of connection. And when there is a relationship like that, it’s a lot easier to say to your boss. I would really love to take on this project. This is what is already on my plate. And I absolutely need time for my run today because that’s how I deliver the goods because I run every day. And if I don’t run, I’m not going to be good tomorrow. When you have a relationship with your boss, they get it. They get the connection between renewal and performance. Does that make sense?
Jean Chatzky: (25:30)
Makes total sense. It makes total sense. And I think putting all of those pieces together, as people are looking to find new opportunities, as we’re looking to figure out what is going to work for us, going forward, looking for a workplace that understands and gets that even if they don’t necessarily know the language is going to be key to your success at work and also your happiness as a person,
Julie Morgenstern: (26:03)
A hundred percent. I love that. And I think, yes, if you internalize that and ask yourself, when you’re looking at an opportunity, find out what is the culture of meetings at this company? What is the culture of time to think? Do, are people given the time to think, are they encouraged or are they supposed to do that in their evenings and weekends? Because if that’s, when it’s expected to be done and all day we’re in meetings, don’t take the job. Right? What’s our culture around connections. When and how do people build relationships in this company? Yeah.
Jean Chatzky: (26:35)
Yeah. So interesting. Right?
Julie Morgenstern: (26:37)
And what’s the culture of renewal. Are there emails all 24 7 or is it like after 8:00 PM? Everybody leaves you alone and they talk about what they did in their time off because it’s a value of the company. So look for that, use that as a criteria for figuring it out.
Jean Chatzky: (26:55)
I’m going to take a quick breath here and remind everyone that HerMoney is proudly sponsored by Fidelity Investments. Some of lights, important moments are planned for way in advance others. We just don’t see coming. But as always, Fidelity is here to help you navigate both the joyous and the unexpected events with confidence, their resources, guides, and tools can help guide you through important financial decisions when you need it. Most visit Fidelity.com/HerMoney to learn more. I am talking with Julie Morgenstern, who is so wise. She is an organizing and productivity expert. Let’s talk about the stuff I cleaned out. I cleaned out during COVID because I was moving. And also because I was spending so much time in my house, that my stuff drove me a little crazy. And I just had to get rid of some of it. I couldn’t live with my own clutter.
Jean Chatzky: (27:54)
Now I am slipping. I, I shopped at a sample sale. I have not done that in a really long time. And I bought something that is just so hideous. It’s going to go to consignment immediately. I don’t want to fall back into those patterns. I want to maintain control over my environment in part, because a lot about my life still feels a little out of control and having a bed that is made makes me feel better. Makes me able to think, how do we maintain as we go back as we head to the next stage of life, how do we maintain control over the belongings?
Julie Morgenstern: (28:37)
Great question. Love your sharing, your journey. And I think it’s a very common one. So I think one of the reasons why you feel like you’re slipping and many people do is that as we are going back or going forward and sort of reemerging from the cocoon, we want new stuff. People were wearing the same clothes for like 18 months. Maybe just their tops were like, I have 10 tops that I have in rotation and these stretch pants. And that is it. So I think that there is a bit of an acquisition thing going on again, which is like, we’re trying to sort of create a new space for ourselves, a new look, we want fresh clothes. We’re going out again. We’re starting to spend money again. Right. And we’ve missed that. And it’s, but I don’t think it’s just spending for spending sake. I think it’s like putting on a new outfit.
Julie Morgenstern: (29:34)
It’s like back to school, like you want your back to school wardrobe. So I think understand where it’s coming from. I think there’s some degree of that. That is fine. But then we have to like bring up traditional principles, which is if I’m going to buy something new, where is it going to live in my house? Where’s the space for it. And what am I going to take out to make room for this? Right. That’s one. And the second thing is I think to just tackle one area at a time, always helps you regain control. So if your pantry has gotten out of control, just like take Saturday a couple of hours and get that back under control one section at a time, don’t worry about, don’t worry about doing everything. I think that’s where people it’s all or nothing thinking. And then entropy reigns, because we never have enough time to do it. All I want you to do is one category at a time, your pantry, your sock drawer, your shirts, your t-shirts
Jean Chatzky: (30:38)
I feel kind of in this is turning into a bit of a therapy session that my COVID clothes are very much like my pregnancy clothes. I just don’t want to wear them anymore. I have had it with those particular tops and jeans and leggings. Is it okay to just decide? I mean, assuming you don’t need to have them around anymore. Can I just get rid of them?
Julie Morgenstern: (31:04)
Absolutely should. Right. This is like letting go of that. It got you through a period, but why, if there’s an association with it, like I’m done. That was a phase. It was a moment. These clothes connect me to that moment. But I’m moving out of that moment. Release the stuff that represents that. I mean, clutter, it’s not junk clutter, which is the stuff that’s stagnant. You have it, but you’re not using it anymore. Right? That’s clutter. It just seems like it’s not being used, but it’s hard to let go of why it’s not junk anything. That’s stagnant, represents an attachment to something you’re struggling to release. It represents something for you. It represents the lockdown. And you’re like done with that. By let it go release it. You don’t need to keep those clothes unless you need to keep those clothes. Right.
Jean Chatzky: (32:01)
That’s the thing, right? I mean, clutter impacts us mentally. It impacts our emotional health. It impacts our career health. How do we establish the right relationship with our clutter?
Julie Morgenstern: (32:13)
I think our spaces have undergone a big transformation. They were forced to be something different than they were intended originally. Right? We’re working from home and living at home and schooling at home and all of that stuff. I think it all needs a shakedown. I think it all needs like open the windows, clear the cobwebs and reclaim your space for this moment in time. And if there’s any part of your home that doesn’t feel like it’s nourishing you now reorganize it, declutter it don’t question it. You’ve got to reclaim. It’s a fresh start moment. And when you do that with your space, as you said, there’s so much of a mental, like you feel in control. When we feel in control, we feel confident and we feel calm and we can be present. When we feel out of control, it’s very hard to be present because whatever you’re doing, you’re thinking about those piles, that mess I have to do that you can’t be present in your life. So is not a waste of time to tackle your space. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself. It’s soothing for the soul.
Jean Chatzky: (33:31)
Last question. And this is a question that I ask all the time, but I ask it about money. I don’t ask it about time or about stuff. If after listening to this conversation and personally, I found it really, really helpful. But if after listening to this conversation, you’re still feeling a little lost. How do you know if you need a professional to help you? And if you need a professional, where do you get one?
Julie Morgenstern: (33:56)
Yeah, I think, you know, you need help external help. You need a professional. If after listening to this conversation during the conversation and felt inspired, but then you went and you just can’t move on it. You can’t take action. You want to, you crave it, but you don’t know where to start. I think that feeling of not knowing where to start or feeling like it is just too big for you to get through and complete. That is where a professional can help you because a professional can say, here’s where to start. They can underwhelm you, rather than overwhelm you, they can map out the steps. They’re a bit of a thought partner, as you have to make decisions. And it’s better to get out of the mud than to sit in the mud and keep spinning your wheels, right? You just, you need sometimes the tow truck, that’s what a professional organizer or a time management coach can do for you. And if you’re looking for a professional organizer for stuff or a time management coach, there’s the national association of productivity. It’s called Naperville N a P o.net. You can go there and wherever you are in the country or the world, you can get referrals of people in your area. And it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself no shame and getting support and getting out of the mud,
Jean Chatzky: (35:21)
Julie Morgenstern. You’re amazing. Thank you so much for being with us again. Where can our listeners find more about you?
Julie Morgenstern: (35:30)
Yeah, and I totally invite come connect with me. I have a website, Julie morgenstern.com. So you can come there. If you want to be in touch, you can fill out the contact us and come meet me on LinkedIn or Instagram, just Julie Morgenstern on LinkedIn, Julie Morgan stern on Instagram and follow me and message me and I will respond. Okay.
Jean Chatzky: (35:52)
You also have a great free newsletter. I subscribe to it. I find it really helpful. And I hope that our listeners will subscribe as well. Thank you,
Julie Morgenstern: (35:59)
Jean Chatzky: (36:00)
And we’ll be right back with Kathryn and your Mailbag. And we are back Kathryn Tuggle from HerMoney.com joins me of course, for our Mailbag. But before we take your questions today, I want to tell everyone that HerMoney is supported by BCU. One of the nation’s fastest growing credit unions, BCU helps members make smart financial decisions by offering the product services and caring support they need for whatever stage of life they’re in. Find out if you’re eligible by visiting www dot BC, u.org, Kathryn. So good to see you.
Kathryn Tuggle: (36:46)
You too, Jean loved having Julie back with us today
Jean Chatzky: (36:50)
Just makes me feel better. She has that voice, you know, before we went on the air, she was saying that she’s from Philadelphia. And now that I live in Philadelphia, I got to tell you, she does not sound like a lot of people in Philadelphia. Like she has this soothing, not, not to insult all my new neighbors by the way, but she just, she has such a soothing voice and cadence it’s like your own personal soundbath. Yeah,
Kathryn Tuggle: (37:17)
Yeah, I totally get that. And I was thinking when we were talking about time and money, about how common advice, when you go through a life transition, a divorce, a new baby, a new job is that you meet with your financial planner and you reevaluate and see where things stand and see what you need to do moving forward with your new life. But we don’t ever do that with time, you know, and the pandemic created such a vast shift in so many of our schedules. So many of us are working from home now and doing remote school and life has shifted in a major way. So why wouldn’t we reevaluate our time and organizational skills? It’s such a perfect time to see where that aspect of our lives really stands.
Jean Chatzky: (38:01)
Yeah. And when she made the point that we don’t talk about time, just like we don’t talk about money. This light bulb went on for me because, you know, whenever I do a moneymaker over whenever I give advice to people in Mailbag who are having trouble just with their cashflows or when we put somebody into the finance fix program, the very first thing we get people doing is getting honest about where their money is going. What’s coming in, what’s going out and where it’s going, and we need to do the same with our time. And if you’ve never kept time log, just like keeping a finance log, keeping a diary of your spending, keeping a diary for a week of what you’re doing with your time is eyeopening. Absolutely. I’ve been put through that experience with some of my jobs, just to try to figure out where my time is going. And I’ve asked employees to do the same, to figure out where their time is going, but you should do it just for your own benefit because it’s really, really helpful.
Kathryn Tuggle: (39:08)
Absolutely. On that note, I saw Tik TOK video this week. That was a productivity hack that I kind of loved, but I haven’t tried it yet. And it said that every time you have a distracting thought during the Workday, whether that’s, oh, I need to check and see if that coat has gone on sale or, oh, I need to look up the ingredients for tonight’s dinner recipe and see if I’m missing anything rather than going and doing it. As we’ve all gotten used to, with that immediate gratification of the intranet, you actually write it down in a notebook and you say like, check on coat or check on dinner. And you basically develop like a little checklist that you can then go back and refer to at the end of your Workday. So you’re not actually missing out on anything, but you are also not putting yourself in a position where you are halting your productivity every 30 minutes because of the latest idea that just flew into your head. And I’m going to give that a shot later this week.
Jean Chatzky: (40:04)
I wonder when you give it a shot and you’ll have to report back. If some of those things that end up on your list are just fleeting thoughts that you decide that you don’t really need to do. I mean, check on ingredients for dinner. Yeah, I get that and make sure you’ve got everything in the house, but do I really want that coat that’s on sale? Or am I just thinking about it? Because I got an email that made me think about it. Is there a there, there, or is it just something like, oh, I’m going to go down this rabbit hole and then try to come back.
Kathryn Tuggle: (40:36)
So true. Just like one of your money rules to think about the purchase that you want to make for 24 hours.
Jean Chatzky: (40:42)
Exactly. Exactly. Well, this was fun. Let’s answer some questions from our Mailbag.
Kathryn Tuggle: (40:49)
Yes. Well, for starters, we have some good news from our listener this week. She wanted to remain anonymous. She says, dear Jean and Kathryn, thank you so much for your career advice. And for regularly reminding your listeners that white women make 82 cents for every dollar white men make, I’ve read your emails for years. And I finally became a podcast listener during the pandemic, the episode a few months ago, where you talked about the PowerPoint presentation eHarmony team member may to ask for a raise was so helpful. My private equity backed company merged with a large competitor earlier this month. And I thought having salary brackets at the new company would help me as a white female engineer. I interviewed for two positions in the large company and received a promotion to supervise direct reports for the first time in my 11 year career. However, my current salary is at the top of the salary bracket for the position due to most people in this position, not having a college degree.
Kathryn Tuggle: (41:44)
I used her advice that women should always counter job offers, but they couldn’t move at all due to the salary bracket. Our private equity backer recently acquired another company in town. And after two interviews, I received an offer from them for 8% more than my current salary. I also countered that offer, reminding them that this is a riskier company and they are still working on revising the benefits and defining equity amounts. I was able to negotiate a 21% raise. I am so excited to start my new position, this winter with a raise, my same potential bonus equity at my current and future companies and a shorter commute. Thank you so so much for all you do for your listeners and keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to hearing what y’all have in store for us next Wednesday morning.
Jean Chatzky: (42:34)
That is just such a great story and a great letter. Thank you for sharing your news with us. It makes Kathryn and me feel really, really good to know that the advice is paying off. But I also just want to pat you on the back because you didn’t give up, you got stuck at a certain point because of those salary brackets. And I understand salary brackets, a lot of big companies have them. They have a structure and they need to adhere to the structure for pay parody as much as anything else, but you didn’t let it stop. You. You continue to look for other opportunities and you found one quite literally in your own backyard, by going with another company that had the same funding from that private equity backers. So they knew you, they knew they could trust you. And my guess is the interview process went more smoothly because of that. So you were really smart. You were really smart, but you were also really resilient and tenacious. And I wish you all the luck in the world at this new job. Yeah,
Kathryn Tuggle: (43:44)
Absolutely. Let us know how it goes and we hope you love it. Our first question today comes from Valerie. She writes hygiene and Kathryn, I’m a new listener to the podcast and you have been wonderful companions for me as I listen on my walks in central park each week in NYC, I’m learning a lot from your amazing guests and smart questions. Thank you background. I’m 53. My husband is 50. We’re both entrepreneurs with nice earning potential, but none of the big company benefits we pay for all of our own health insurance, no pensions, no retirement matching, et cetera. We have two children, 15 and 17 assets include an emergency fund of a hundred thousand dollars brokerage account of 1 million retirement account of 750,020 nines are fully funded for college debt includes car loan on a 2020 car, 25,000 at 3.6, 2% interest working on our New York apartment 400,000 at 2.7, 5% mortgage on a second home outside the city, 425,000 at 2.75%. My question is on investing versus paying down our debt. We live within our means and do not carry credit card debt. Most months, we have an extra, roughly 2000 that we can put toward our debt or put into our brokerage account. Would it be better to pay down our loans each month or to invest that money in the market? Our financial advisors suggested a 5% rule. If servicing the debt is less than 5%, then keep the debt and invest the money in the market. What do you think?
Jean Chatzky: (45:21)
So I think you’ve got a good financial advisor. That’s what I think. I also think you’ve set yourself up incredibly well for your next phase of life. In general, we don’t pay off low interest rate debts when we know that we could invest the money and do better. And that’s basically what your financial advisor is saying. The only caveat I have is that you’re right about my age. I’m actually a little older than you are. I’m 57, just turned you’re in your early fifties. And I really, really like the idea of no mortgage going into retirement. So I might put a little bit of additional money toward those mortgages. I wouldn’t really bother with a car loan. I just pay the car loan off over time, even though the interest on the car loan is slightly higher than the interest on the mortgages. If you’re looking at retiring before those mortgages are going to be paid off and you didn’t give me a timeframe on those mortgages.
Jean Chatzky: (46:28)
So I’m not sure what you’re looking at. Then I would try to accelerate the pay down of the mortgages so that when you stop working, when the income stops coming in, you aren’t feeling as if you are hamstrung for resources because you don’t have as much cash flow. Other than that, if you’ve set yourself up so that the mortgages will be gone by the time you retire, I’m okay with doing as your financial advisor suggested. And just going ahead and adding that additional $2,000 a month to the brokerage firm, but looking at your portfolio, which ever way you go, you’re going to be just fine.
Kathryn Tuggle: (47:16)
Thanks, Dean. I always love these where to put our money questions. I feel like I learned so much from these just listening. Even if their assets far outweigh what my assets are or their questions are not my questions I always learn.
Jean Chatzky: (47:30)
And I always think about these questions in, you know what, when I do, if I was in this situation and I know I bring my own emotional baggage to the scenario, I’ve gone back and forth with other financial experts over the years about the, have a mortgage, don’t have a mortgage kind of a question for me, not having a mortgage in retirement just feels safer. It just feels more secure. And even if I’m compromising a little bit on return, that’s okay. If it helps me sleep at night, absolutely
Kathryn Tuggle: (48:03)
Lately. And as we just learned an episode 2 87, how to retire, happy with Wes Moss retirees who do not have a mortgage are much happier than those who are still paying one down.
Jean Chatzky: (48:17)
See, there you go. And I didn’t even have a survey.
Kathryn Tuggle: (48:22)
Our last question today comes to us from Andrea. She writes a low hygiene. I’m 51 years old and live in Kailua Hawaii. I’m moving to a new job and I’m setting up my Roth 401k with my new employer. My budget allows me to invest 3000 a month, 36,000 annually in a retirement fund, which I was thinking would be allocated as follows a Roth IRA, $7,000 annually, Roth 401k $27,000 annually and $2,000 annually invested in an S and P index fund outside of the above accounts. My question is, should I allocate these funds in a target date, retirement index fund with a set it and forget it, approach to diversification and auto rebalance, or is it more cost-effective for me to invest directly every month and to index funds in an effort to keep my expense ratio cost reduce. My goal is to buy and hold for the next 10 years and rebalance closer to my retirement age, which is targeted for 65 years old. I have no debt and I’ve saved 500,000 for retirement via my Roth, 401k and SEP IRA accounts. Those are a mix of S and P index and treasury bonds Mahalo for sharing your expertise.
Jean Chatzky: (49:37)
Thank you so much, Andrea, for writing. I love this question because as you’ve heard in the past, I often recommend target date, retirement funds. And the reason that I often recommend them is because people, even people who think that they will rebalance and say they will rebalance often don’t rebalance. And the problem with that is that you can end up having a lot more risk than you actually are comfortable taking on. As you point out investing directly into index funds every month is more cost-effective, but I don’t think you can wait 10 years before rebalancing. I’d rather see you if you go in this direction rebalanced every year. And the reason is look at the markets right now. Look at what’s happened in the markets over the last year. If you’re somebody who put money into say a 60, 40 portfolio, 60% stocks, 40% bonds a year ago, and you haven’t rebalanced, your mix is way out of whack.
Jean Chatzky: (50:43)
You’ve got so much more in stocks than you had at the beginning of making your investment. And that means you’re taking on more risk than you should be taking. And the time to pull some of that money out of stocks and plow, some of it back into safer havens is now. So I’m all for doing it this way. I get that this is a saving on cost, but I do think that you need to be willing to rebalance more frequently in order to truly reap the benefits of doing it this way. That said, it’s not a whole lot of work. It’s just going in and fixing your mics once a year, do it on your birthday twice a year, if you feel like, and that should really do the trick. I think we need a whole
Kathryn Tuggle: (51:35)
Rebalancing show that walks us through what that looks like depending on your age
Jean Chatzky: (51:40)
And assets. Absolutely. A whole building, a portfolio show. What does it look like to build a portfolio? Let’s tee that up. I think that would be terrific. And I think exploring the differences between index funds, ETFs target, date funds, which is right for certain people. And while we’re at it, Kathryn, let’s put I bonds on the list. I bonds because of the recent change in their pricing are now returning 7.2% guaranteed for the next 30 years. That’s a bond investment Jason’s wife who, you know, I am a huge fan of, he writes the intelligent investor column for the wall street journal actually wrote that people who do not buy eyeballs should have their heads examined. And so I think this is something that we really should dig in and explore. In fact, why don’t we just call Jason and see if he’d like to come on and talk about all of these different investments sometime in the next couple of weeks I am on it.
Jean Chatzky: (52:50)
Thank you so much, Jean. Thanks, Kathryn. And in today’s thrive, year 2021 holiday budget holiday spending has long been a critical part of many of our budgets as we prepare for a season of entertaining and gift-giving our spending can get out of hand quickly with COVID things are still in a state of flux, which means it can be tough to know how and when to spend our money in a way that makes the most sense and gets the best firstname.lastname@example.org. This week, we’ve got a rundown on how to make your 20, 21 holiday season as joyous affordable, and stress-free as possible first, get your holiday shopping list together sooner, rather than later, there are widespread delays with overseas shipments and staffing shortages at big box stores. And that means it’s just taking longer to get products out because of this. Some families are opting to give experiences instead of stuff, talk to your friends and family and see what they’d most like to receive this year before you order the traditional sweater or mittens that might not arrive on time.
Jean Chatzky: (53:57)
And if you do end up mailing gifts, resist the temptation to wrap them yourself, have them ship directly to the recipients. That’ll save you time and money on shipping. So you’re not paying for it or waiting for it twice next, be wary of advertised sales this year, don’t assume every advertised sale item is actually a good deal because of supply chain issues, deals as deep as 50% off may be harder to come by. An average discounts may be around 10 or 20% depending on the item, but there’s a good chance. Prices may drop after the holiday buying frenzy. So if you can wait until January or even until spring do it. Lastly, always compare prices. Yes, Amazon may have some good deals, but we sometimes mistakenly assume they have the best prices. And it’s just not always true price, comparison tools like invisible hand next tag or price blink can automatically search the internet for lower prices and let you know if there’s a cheaper option available elsewhere so that you’ll never overpay.
Jean Chatzky: (55:08)
Thank you so much for joining me today on HerMoney. Thanks to Julie Morgenstern for joining us to share all of her wisdom. I know we’re eager to get back to a place where we can count on having a routine that lasts for more than a few weeks. I hope that you found her insight as helpful as I did. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our show at Apple Podcasts, leave us a review. We love hearing what you think we’d like to thank our sponsors, Fidelity and BCU. We produce this podcast out of CDM Sound Studios. Our music is provided by Video Helper and our show comes to you through Megaphone. Thanks for joining us. And we’ll talk soon.