Don’t hesitate to sit down and go over your finances to make sure you are set for the years to come. Reviewing your finances is a great way to assess your goals and make plans for reaching those you have not met yet. It’s also a time to establish a budget that allows you to save for things like big summer trips, back-to-school items, and even holiday gift shopping. Best of all, going over your finances provides you with security and peace of mind as you spend your money.
Determining Your Assets
Before you can figure out how to save for what you don’t have, you have to figure out what you do have. Assets don’t just refer to your monetary value; though certificates of deposit, savings accounts, money market accounts, Treasury bills, and your overall income certainly have their value. Anything you own that can be turned into cash if need be is considered an asset, including:
Real estate and land
Personal property such as furniture, jewelry, vehicles, boats, and collectibles
Investments such as annuities, bonds, and mutual funds
The cash value of your life insurance policies
Money market instruments
Pensions and retirement plans
Assets you can sell for cash with little to no effect on the price received are considered liquid. Having plenty of liquid assets can be very handy in case of a financial emergency, but putting too much into them poses certain risks. Illiquid assets such as your home, antiques, and vehicles still count toward your general net worth, and diversity is always a great idea when it comes to where you put your money. Remember that your home’s value may be different today than it was when you bought it, so use a home-value calculator to get a better idea.
Calculating Your Liabilities
Everybody has financial liabilities. Keeping them in check is the best way to stabilize your credit score and ensure your future stability. Generally, a person’s largest financial liability is the mortgage and other household debts. You may have other liabilities including:
Credit card debt
Cell phone contracts
Subtracting the total cost of your liabilities from your assets determines your net worth. Knowing what your net worth is today can help determine your progress. It can also be useful when determining your budget and goals going forward.
Budgeting Toward Your Goals
Your financial goals are personal and reflect your overall values as well as your place in life. Generally, we should all have a certain amount of money in savings before working towards large expenses, so consider your goals carefully when you have limited savings. Other than using common sense, what you put your money toward depends on your desires and where you see yourself in the years to come.
Whatever your goals are, it helps to establish a budget:
Track your expenses and see what you can easily cut.
Set up a fund for irregular spending that is separate from other savings goals.
Find at least one part of your budget that can stand to be trimmed.
Consider consolidating credit card debt under one low interest rate loan.
Put long-term savings into a money market account that makes it difficult to withdraw while also taking advantage of higher interest rates.
An important part of financial planning is also preparing for the unexpected. One way to protect your family’s financial well-being is to purchase life insurance just in case something happens to you or your spouse. You can use an insurance-needs calculator to determine the ideal policy for you and your family.
It’s never the wrong time to sit down and go over your financial situation. To figure your net worth, calculate your financial liabilities and subtract them from your total assets. Looking over these things and knowing your worth provide a solid grounding when it comes to determining your future goals and how you will reach them.
About The Author & Contributor:
Gloria Martinez loves sharing her business expertise and hopes to inspire other women to start their own businesses and seek promotions in the workplace. She created WomenLed.org to spotlight and celebrate women’s achievements.