Where do I start? I get this question a lot when meeting with people for the first time to talk about their financial situation. With so much financial information out there, it is easy to become overwhelmed. This article takes a 6-step, systematic approach designed to get you going in the right direction. By taking the 6 steps below, you will build a solid foundation from which you can build upon. You will gain a clear view of what your current financial picture looks like and understand the action items you need to take to get started on building and securing your financial life.
- Develop the right mindset around money. If you’ve read my previous article, “Financial Freedom is in your View,” you will understand how the right mindset can empower you to live the life you want to.
- Track your monthly cashflow on apps like “mint” or “good budget” to see how much money you have after you pay all of your basic expenses. This number is the resource you have for savings and building financial freedom. Remember to save first but also create a budget for entertainment and fun stuff.
- Organize your current financial picture of where you are today. One app I often recommend is “TheLivingbalancesheet.com” which provides you with a “financial scorecard.” It will list all your assets and their balances, all liabilities including balance, interest rate, monthly payments, insurances etc. Once you enter your information it provides a one page simple snapshot that shows where you are financially secure, and where you may need to focus.
- Save at least 10% of gross income automatically every month with the goal of getting to 20%. ½ of savings should go to accessible accounts like separate money market account, investment account, the other half should go to longer term investments like 401k and IRA.
- Pay minimums on all debt until you get to the above savings rate and have 3 months of expenses saved in liquid accounts.
- Review your insurances: auto, home, umbrella, disability, life insurance. Don’t rely just on group benefits through your work you should also have some personally owned as well.
These 6 steps will give you a workable foundation to build on. This is the 2nd in a series of 10 articles with the goal of getting you a confident view of your current and future money situation. We will discuss investment strategies, taxes, estate planning, insurance, retirement, and other advanced topics as well. Everything you need to know to be empowered by your money.
Change your view, Change your world.