Have you Completed Your Personal Financial Checkup?

In every area of your life, it’s important to submit yourself to a checkup to find out how you’re doing. [column size=”two-third”]Anytime is an ideal time to sit back and review your finances. Depending on the time of the year, you may be able to make changes to help you prepare for filing your annual tax return. Or you may simply take advantage of new opportunities arising from changes in your personal situation.

A financial checkup can help you make course corrections and ensure that you’re remaining on the path to the success you were born to experience. This is especially true about your finances.[/column]

[column size=”one-third” last=”true”]Your fiscal health affects your overall sense of well-being, self-confidence, and happiness more than anything else. Once or twice a year, it’s important to evaluate where you are financially, where you’re going, and how best to get there.[/column]

Follow these tips to perform a personal financial checkup that ensures you experience the peace and prosperity you deserve:

  1. Identify where you are. If you don’t have a family or personal budget, now’s the time to create one. Simply list your income and monthly expenses. Any time you spend money, write it down. Simply being aware of your spending habits and the amount of money you have available will cause you to make more sound financial decisions.
    • If you already have a family budget, now’s the time to make sure that all of your expenses are listed in the budget and funded accurately. An updated budget is your roadmap for your journey into the next few months.
    • Have you analyzed your monthly spending to identify ways to save?
    • The more clearly you see your current financial status, the more motivated you’ll be to make the changes you need to reach your goals.
  2. Identify where you want to go. If you’ve already established financial goals, evaluate whether those goals still make sense in light of your current situation. Think about what’s most important to you, and match your financial budget and goals to those values. Include a fun purchase or vacation to keep you motivated. Do you have written financial goals in the following areas?
    • Giving goals?
    • Saving goals?
    • Reduction of debt goals?
    • Do you have a goal to become 100% debt free, including your mortgage?
  3. Review your insurance coverage. As the circumstances of your life change, your needs for protection may change as well. Look over your homeowners insurance, health insurance, and life insurance and make sure your coverage meets your current needs. Also consider disability insurance, especially if you provide income that your household counts on.
  4. Create or bolster your emergency fund. The backbone of any financial plan that truly provides comfort is a fund that can pay for unexpected expenses. If the car or air conditioner breaks down, your emergency fund makes sure that all the financial claims you made above stay intact.
    • While other families struggle to make ends meet, falling behind at the first unexpected expense, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re covered no matter what goes wrong. This can only come from a well-funded emergency fund.
  5. Establish or update your will. While the end of life is an uncomfortable subject for many, it’s important to have your affairs in order for those you may leave behind if something should ever happen to you.
  6. Evaluate your investments. How’s your investment portfolio performing? Are you investing in the right vehicles to match your retirement, college savings and other goals? You may want to seek the advice of a financial advisor if you’re unfamiliar with this area of your financial picture.
  7. Review tax options.
    • Adjust your tax withholding, if necessary. Many people provide the federal government with an interest-free loan every year. At the end of the year, you should be close to breaking even. Instead of receiving a large refund, adjust your deductions and use a savings or money market account to make interest off the difference.
    • Are you possibly subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)? Stock option exercise, large deductions or the phase out of the benefits of personal exemptions at high-income levels could subject you to this tax. Contact your tax professional if you think you may be subject to AMT.
  8. Think about upcoming life changes. Do you anticipate anything big happening in the near future? Is your car getting old? Are there any medical expenses for a surgery or pregnancy that’s coming up? To complete your checkup, think through upcoming expenses that are outside your normal budget and plan ahead.

Once you’ve set yourself up for financial success by reviewing these areas of your family’s plan, repeat this personal financial checkup once or twice a year.

The keys to financial success are awareness, determination to succeed, and the ability to dream big dreams. Your personal financial checkup is the roadmap that’ll keep you on track.

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18 Responses

  1. Crystal says:

    Great advice. So many people live paycheck to paycheck with no back up plan. I love that my husband is frugal and we have no credit card debit.

    • Lisa Rioux says:

      Crystal,

      That is absolutely wonderful. Your priorities, passions, goals, and fears are shown clearly in the flow of your money. It took me a long time to learn this but I think I am on the right path now. Cheers to you! Lisa

  2. Lisa Rios says:

    Really a good advice. Very informative. This is what we do periodically, even we are planned as unexpected changes can rise some times. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Astrid says:

    Great tips. I am really disorganized when it comes to my finances. I don’t do a personal budget, but I really should. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Lisa Rioux says:

      Hello,
      What I had to get past is that budgeting is not restricting, but gave me more control over my finances. Even millionaires have budgets. Realize that creating a budget – and living with it – doesn’t have to be so restrictive. Nor does it mean a complete end to all spending or having fun. Embracing this concept will help you stick with a budget.
      What are your thoughts? Thanks, Lisa

  4. Katie Garvin says:

    Very good advice. Thank you for an informative post. This is my first time on your website, and I love the clean, polished look of it. 🙂

  5. Jen Austen says:

    Never really thought about budgeting (graduating college soon) like this before! This is really good advice. Thanks!

    • Lisa Rioux says:

      Jen,

      Congrats on your education endeavors. Remember, budgeting does not have to be elaborate. If you think of it in turns of money being a tool, like any other tool one must learn how to use it properly. A budget helps us manage our tools. All the best, Lisa

  6. Jana says:

    This is something that we do periodically, but it’s probably time to take a look at again. Even when you are in good shape, unexpected changes can arise!

  7. You are right on the money with this post. Being out of debt is a complete relief in our lives. Thank you for the great advice.

    • Lisa Rioux says:

      Julie,
      I am glad you are fully on your way to being debt-free. This is always a relief and it helps keep down on your stress.
      One of things we should also stay on top of is preventive care because it most often helps us avoid higher medical bills. Thanks for chiming in, I always love hearing what others have to contribute.

      Thank you much! Lisa

  8. I am definitely bookmarking this and sharing it with my husband. We have to review our budget and actually get around to making our wills. Your post totally reminded me! Thank you for sharing!

    • Lisa Rioux says:

      Jennifer,

      Great. I am so happy, you are on top of your financial health. Making small changes in your life will eventually make a big difference in your net worth.

      All smiles…thank you for the feedback, Lisa

  9. Heather says:

    Oh my goodness SUCH GREAT ADVICE! Updating your budget is a must and often. Things pop up and you want to be prepared.

    • Lisa Rioux says:

      Heather,
      You are correct. In life you should expect the unexpected, and this is why you need a budget which includes putting towards an emergency fund.
      I appreciate your feedback. Thanks, Lisa

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