How To Do A Health Check For Your Finances
Maintaining healthy finances is essential when it comes to building wealth. When your finances are healthy, it's easier for you to deal with unplanned life occurrences, bounce back from setbacks and accomplish your financial goals. Becoming financially healthy however, requires that you develop the discipline to consistently do certain things and there really isn't any way around it.
Think about what you do to maintain your personal health - You brush your teeth and shower regularly to keep yourself clean and avoid unnecessary illnesses because we all know that falling sick can lead to other health complications and and you definitely don't want that. And also because you do it so often, it's now part of your every day health maintenance habit - well, the same applies to your finances!
"When your finances are healthy, it's easier for you to deal with unplanned life occurrences, bounce back from setbacks and accomplish your financial goals."
You want to ensure you have a plan in place and that you are keeping your finances in check so you can avoid any self inflicted crisis that could come about because of poor financial management. That being said, here are some tips to help you get started on your financial health check:
1. Establish a routine
Allocate some time each week or at the minimum once a month, unfailingly, to go over your finances. Make it a coffee date with yourself or put on some nice music and grab a warm cup of tea at home and spend some time checking in on things. It's a good idea to set a reminder on your calendar so you don't forget this check in.
The bottom line is that, if you want to build wealth, you are going to have to dedicate some time to your money so start getting excited about this time - you'll be spending it working on your financial empire!
2. Reconcile, plan & execute
During the time you've allocated for your health check, here some activities you'll want to make sure you are doing:
- Set and review your financial goals:
If you haven't already, it's important that you lay out your short and long term financial goals so you know exactly what you are working towards with your money. As time progresses, you want to make sure you review and reassess your goals to make sure they are still things you want to accomplish and that you are on track to meet them.
- Account & bill reconciliations:
Check your bank account debits against any bills payments you previously scheduled or sent out. Make sure any pending bills / debt repayments have been paid or scheduled. Compare your receipts against your credit card transactions and confirm the balance. Review your budget and compare your actual spending to what you budgeted for. Once a month establish your budget for the upcoming month.
- Savings and investments:
If you have automated transactions set up to make transfers to your savings or investment accounts be sure to check in on them. This would also include any automatic deposits you have setup to go into your retirement accounts etc. If you don't have automation set up, make or schedule your manual transfers to your savings and investment accounts and be sure to check and make sure the transactions went in successfully.
You also want to make sure you have the right type of insurance for your life. This include health, auto, life, disability, home, personal property, business etc. Set a reminder for twice a year where you sit down and evaluate the costs of your various policies and shop around to see what else is out there.
Reconciling your accounts and planning your finances out, ensures you are aware of everything happening with your money and that you are on the right path to accomplish your goals.
3. Check your net-worth
Your net worth can almost be described as the thermometer used to measure your financial health and you want to keep track of it. Your main priority should be to pay off as much debt as possible, starting with your high interest debt, grow your assets and over time, your net worth will start to grow. It's also important to track your net worth over time to ensure you are inline with your long term goals and financial objectives that you've set out to accomplish.
Many people start out with a negative net worth as they start out working on improving their finances but given time and the continuous of practice good financial habits, this will change.
Doing a health check on your finances might seem like a lot of work when you first start out but as you get organized and into the swing of things it will become easier and easier to do and could end up being a lot of fun too. Remember, keeping your finances healthy is how you will achieve your financial goals.
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.