Keeping up with your personal finances can be a challenge in today’s busy, fast-paced world. Understanding where you are and where you’re going financially can help you stay on track with your goals, and help keep your finances organized. To help, here is a list of 5 items you should be reviewing every quarter to help you stay financially fit.
Your first step is to establish a baseline, by identifying where you are in the following categories:
• Income – Current net income totals
• Expenses – Utilities, Insurance, etc.
• Debt – Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Mortgage
• Saving –Savings accounts generally used for short-term savings
• Investment Plans – Retirement account contributions, such as IRA or 401K plan, College Savings Plans, etc.
Consider developing a spreadsheet and writing down goals for each category. It will speed up your quarterly reviews and help you get an accurate picture of your financial health.
Quarterly Review Checklist
1. Expenses – Scan bills such as utilities and insurance for any unusual charges, spikes in cost, or other red flags that might change your budget. Check to see if there are any unused services or fees you could do away with. And, if your expenses feel out of control get more organized by using available banking tools, such as Online Banking, automatic bill pay services, or eStatements.
2. Debt – Check to see where you are with any debt payoffs. Are you making the progress you anticipated, or are there any new loans, fees, or credit card terms that might change your goals in this category? Be sure to adjust the rest of your plan as you pay off debt. Consider talking with a loan officer about consolidating debt.
3. Savings – Make sure you are adequately funding your savings accounts. If you have enough saved for emergencies talk to your banker about rolling some of it over into long-term investments.
4. Investment Plans – Review your retirement account statements to keep up to date on balances and earnings.
Once you’ve completed each quarterly review, be sure to set aside time on your calendar for the next one. This will help assure you stay financially fit.
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