Assessing Your Personal Financial Situation And Gaining Control

Are you out of Control with your Money?  Personal finance is a subject that is of highest importance when it comes to planning out your life, goals, and dreams. You need to gain control of it before it is too late.  You are going to be limited as to what you can do if you don’t take control of your finances this year. There are many possibilities that can begin to push things to get out of hand, and you don’t want that to happen. Continue reading for helpful advice concerning assessing your personal financial situation and gaining control.

The first thing you need to do is to take a look at the big picture. What is your income? What bills and expenses do you have? Get your statements and all documents together in order to see where you stand. Examine everything, and get ready to determine a plan of action today. While you may be doing many things right already, going through this exercise is going to bring about changes. It’s time to see what is next on your agenda.

I personally use Mint.com to track my spending and monthly goals.  I don’t have an affiliate link or anything for them, but for a free app definitely worth the time to check out.  It connects up with most financial institutions to give you a snap shot of what is going on.

Think about and look at your spending habits. What do you spend most of your money on? Think about changes that should be made. How can you cut your expenses? Take notes, and work on improving your budget. Make sure that you’re living within your means. Formulate a new budget, and make sure you’re constantly looking out for budget cuts that you can make. Budget changes will happen naturally, but you also want to be on top of them.  I suggest setting auto-drafts for your main expenses like home, car, utility bills, then take half the cash you have left at the end of the month and that is your budget for everything else you can’t auto draft like food, gas, other random things you buy.  Then take the other half and build up your savings account or emergency fund.  If you run out of cash before the end of the month.  Sit down and have an official meeting about what is not working and why you are over budget.  Maybe you need to adjust things, or maybe you need to make more income.  I have lots of ideas about that so let me know.  These emergency board meetings will help you to be more deliberate with your plan, instead of letting debt hit you first.

Work on setting financial goals once you have established your budget. If you’re in debt, establish short-term and long-term goals that you can work towards positively. Work towards saving as much money as possible, and always pay yourself first. You need to have at least 6 months worth of living expenses saved up to fall back on just in case you lose your job or costly unexpected expenses arise.  If you are not at this point yet focus on getting an emergency fund of a 1,000 dollars first.

Plan for your future. Chances are you’ll eventually want to buy a home, and you’re definitely going to want to retire someday. There are also other major purchases and life events, such as vacations that will take place. Save not only for emergencies but save to start to accumulate wealth so that you can do the things you want to later in life.

If you have the money, and you’re starting to get control of your finances, it can be a great idea to speak with a financial adviser. They can offer assistance in your financial planning that will benefit you immensely. As you start to save even more money, you might need investment or retirement planning advice. While financial advisers charge a fee, it can be well worth the money.  I am a big advocate of ETF funds for growing retirement savings.  Ideally in a tax-sheltered vehicle like a Roth or 401k.  The reason I like them so much is the low fees associated with the investment activities, and the fact most stock market funds can’t beat these indexes anyways so you might as well just buy the index and save the management fees.  However, there is some good growth stock mutual funds out there with some stellar long-term track records, so I would definitely balance out your position with some of those.  You will never find someone who cares more about your money than you so always do your own research and have control of your finances.  Don’t ever put all your money into one stock or one trader.  And always be vigilant so you don’t wind up talking about how some Ponzi scheme stole all your hard earned money.

Dealing with your personal finances can seem overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. You have to make sure you seek out the right knowledge in order to figure out what you’re doing. Hopefully, after having read this article, you feel like you’re much more equipped to head in the right direction.

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