Have you ever sat down and taken a good hard look at your finances? I’m not just talking balancing the checkbook. I mean every single part of your finances. If you’ve never thought about it before – you should now. Think of it as a way to see where you are and where you are going. You could be surprised.
Start by simply writing down what your financial goals are. Do this without looking at your checkbook or savings accounts. Simply list what is important to you financially. This could be saving for retirement, paying off your debt or even working on a college savings fund for your children.
Now look at you checkbook, savings, budgeting (or lack of) and other financial accounts to see if you are on the right track. See how much debt you have paid off in the last year. If you haven’t been paying more than the minimum payments, you aren’t getting anywhere. You can really see this if you compare this monthly statement to last year’s monthly statement for your credit cards.
Or perhaps you do see that your investment accounts have grown appropriately. But maybe you’ve been putting too much into your children’s college funds and not enough into your retirement savings. Calculate how much you will need at retirement and assess whether or not you are on the right track.
Take the time to sit down and look over all of your insurance policies. Over time, many personal insurance needs change. It may be that you no longer need maternity coverage on your health insurance. Or perhaps you need to increase your term life insurance policy. Look at your homeowner’s insurance to see if you need to increase the personal property coverage or even the coverage amount on the home itself. Having the correct coverage can save you a lot of heartache and money in the case of an emergency or disaster.
Look at the changes in your life. Perhaps you’ve had a child or changed jobs. How do these events affect your money? You may need to change your budget, your savings or your investments.
Make sure that your finances are well protected. Everyone, whether or not they have children, should have a will. Review it regularly and update it as you have children or purchase long-term, big-ticket items.
Review your investments and make sure that they are performing as you need them and expect them to. As you grow older, you need to adjust the diversification of your investments to reflect a more conservative tactic. When reaching retirement, you don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with your money.
You should give your finances a complete checkup once or twice a year. The more you do it, the more you will see. Regular reviews of your finances also reinforce the importance of your goals. You will be less tempted to spend and motivated to save more for those things you want.