Finances can be overwhelming, especially when you have a lot on your plate. One of the most common challenges people have when they come to us is feeling completely disorganized. Whether you're already overwhelmed by your financial situation or simply want to get a better handle on your spending, managing your money starts with organization. But where do you even begin? Getting your finances in order isn't as daunting as it seems, and these five steps will give you the foundation you need to keep your accounts straight and your finances back on track.
Step 1) Take Inventory, determine net worth
Taking inventory is a great first place to start. If you are married, sit down with your spouse and list all of your assets and debts. Under assets, we are going to list bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and assets such as vehicles, real estate, jewelry, etc. Doing this will give you a better understanding of your overall financial standing and can help reveal your options. For example, maybe you have some high-interest credit cards that could be consolidated under a lower-interest secured loan. Taking inventory can help to reveal this.
Step 2) Set up a Budget - Use Technology to Help
Implementing financial technology can streamline your financial management and track spending. Tools like Mint, PocketGuard, and YNAB allow you to keep track of your expenses, categorize your purchases, and view all of your financial accounts in one consolidated view. These financial apps help you identify places where you can cut back expenses and reach your financial goals faster.
Step 3) Establish Financial Goals
The next step is goal planning. Figure out what you want to accomplish financially, and then create an action plan to make it happen. Whether you want to save for a down payment on a house, pay off debt, or begin investing your money, defining your goals will help you create a tailored plan of action.
Step 4) Automate Your Savings
One of the easiest ways to save and stay organized financially is to make use of automation. Automating any monthly savings, such as contributing to a 401(K), emergency funds, or investments, reduces the risk of forgetting to save, and it is easy. This way, you won't have to think about saving, yet your savings account will continue to grow. Out of sight, out of mind and your finances will be back on track
Step 5) Monitor Your Progress
Check on your progress every few months to ensure that you are achieving your goals and your finances are in order. Seeing how much you have saved or how much debt you have managed to pay off can motivate you to stick to your plan. These milestones should act as markers of your progress towards your goal and will allow you to make changes if your actions don’t align with your financial goal.
Organizing your finances may seem like a task that is easier said than done. However, with the five steps mentioned here, you can create a secure financial future. The good news? You don't have to do it alone! That's what we are here for, we help people follow these 5 steps every day.
Keeping your finances in order isn't easy, and you need to adjust your plan from time to time to match your current financial situation. However, the sense of control and security that comes with having your finances in order is worth the effort. So, get started today, and watch how your financial future will change.