It’s a new year, which means for many people that it’s time to reassess their life and set new goals. Health and fitness goals are popular this time of year, as many people resolve to eat healthier or exercise more frequently. Others may focus on their education or career development. Some people may use this time to look at their house and plan out various home improvement projects for the coming year.
As you set your new year’s resolutions, you may want to review your financial picture. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to analyze your financial situation and develop a list of action items. A regular annual financial checkup can help you stay on top of potential risks and on track to meet your biggest financial goals.
Ready for your annual financial review? Below are three items to include in a financial review checklist. By creating and assembling these documents, you can gain more insight into your financial picture. If you haven’t reviewed these items recently, now is the perfect time to do so.
A financial inventory is a document that contains every important component of your personal finances. For example, it may list your assets, debts, investments and much more. You can use the document to gain insight into your finances so you can set goals and priorities. It’s helpful because it gives you a clear view into your current financial picture.
Start with statements for your savings, investments, property and other assets. Next, collect documentation related to your debts, such as your mortgage, car loans, credit cards and more. You can calculate your net worth by subtracting your total debts from your total assets.
You can use your financial inventory as a reference point to quickly gauge your current financial standing. For example, your financial inventory may tell you that your debt is very high relative to your assets. Or you may learn that your credit card balances are higher than you thought. Use this information to set action items and goals for the upcoming year and beyond.
A budget can be one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. You can use it to gain greater understanding about your spending and to make important purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, nearly 60 percent of all Americans don’t use a budget.1
If you traditionally haven’t used a budget, now may be the time to start. There are plenty of apps, websites and software that can help you develop your budget. However, you could also use a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper.
Start with your monthly income. Then list out your expenses and break them into categories. The categories should fall into two groups: fixed and discretionary. Fixed expenses are those that you have to pay every month, such as your mortgage or your utilities. Discretionary costs are those that are flexible, like dining out or shopping.
Compare your income with your total expenses. If your income exceeds your spending, you have money available to save. If your expenses are higher, you need to make changes to your lifestyle and your purchasing decisions. Visit your budget frequently to make sure you’re being disciplined and staying within your means.
Short- and long-term goals
Finally, your annual financial checkup should include some form of goal-setting for the coming year and beyond. The new year is all about setting resolutions. Use your financial checkup as a springboard for action that can help you retake control of your financial future.
You could set a goal to pay off your high-interest debt by some point in the future. You could increase your retirement savings. Perhaps you could work to build a larger emergency fund. Set goals for the short and long term to improve your financial stability.
Ready for your annual financial review? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Trinity Financial. We can help you analyze your needs and goals, and then implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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