Personal Financial Checkups
Many of life’s strategies require an occasional checkup to monitor your progress and see how you’re doing.
This allows you to make corrections to your course and ensure the path you tread leads to the level of success you want to experience.
This is especially true with personal finances. Our fiscal health affects our self-confidence, our sense of well-being, and ultimately, our happiness.
Periodic financial checkups help evaluate where you are, where you’re going, and how to get there. Consider these strategies for executing a personal financial checkup that ensures you peace and prosperity in all you do.
Where you are now?
If you don’t have a personal budget currently, there’s no better time to create one than right now.
Make a list of your income and monthly expenses. Every time you spend money, make a note of it, somewhere. Being aware of your available funds and spending habits prepares you to make more educated financial decisions in the future.
- If you already have a budget, make sure all of your expenses are listed and funded accurately. An updated budget is the roadmap to financial improvements in the coming months.
- A clear picture of your current financial status motivates you to make the changes necessary to reach your goals.
Where do you want to go?
Once your financial goals are established, evaluate them with your current situation to see if they match. What’s most important to you at the moment? Use the answer to match your budget and goals to those values. Include a vacation plan or a fun purchase to motivate your success.
Take stock of your insurance coverage
As your life changes, your needs for protection will change as well. Take a look at your homeowners, health, and life insurance policies to ensure your coverage meets your current needs. You may also want to consider disability insurance, especially if you are the primary source of income in your household.
Create or boost a sensible emergency fund
Emergency funds are the backbone of sound financial planning that provides comfort against financial surprises. This fund helps keep your living expenses flowing in the event an air conditioner, car, or other costly item breaks down.
- Emergency funds give families peace of mind. You won’t have to struggle to make ends meet or fall behind on payments if an unexpected expense surfaces.
Bring your will up to date
No one likes to think of dying, but having your affairs in order for those you may leave behind is important. Take an inventory of your will to make sure it meets your family’s needs for a future in your absence.
Evaluate your investments
Is your investment portfolio performing well? Are you making the right investments to meet your goals for college savings, retirement, or other interests? You may need the help of a financial advisor to clear up your financial picture and future financial goals, if you’re not sure.
Adjust your tax withholding allowance
Many people unwittingly provide an interest-free loan for the federal government each year through their taxes. In the best situation, you should be close to breaking even at the end of the year.
Instead of counting on a large refund, adjust your deductions and use a money market or savings account to make interest off the difference.
Consider any upcoming life changes
Are there medical expenses for surgery or pregnancy in the near future? Do you anticipate a significant expense in the near future? Is your car getting ready to retire?
To complete this personal financial checkup, consider any upcoming expenses outside of your normal budget, then plan ahead with additional savings or budget adjustments.
Once you’ve set up a plan for financial success by reviewing these individual areas of your family’s budget, repeat this process once or twice a year.
Awareness, determination, and the ability to dream big are the keys to significant financial success. A personal financial checkup is a roadmap that keeps you on track throughout life.