With a month already into the new 2016-year, the resolutions for a financially healthy and fruitful future may find its way at a close. For many of these resolutions, these intrinsic financial goals have motivated millions of Americas to evaluate their personal finances holistically. But, like with any motivating push, the timespan can oftentimes be short-lived.
Before you hang up the cleats and veer away from your bank statements, think back about why you wanted to save. Reflect on your goals for the future and critic what your funds and savings were within the past month. This type of practice is a necessary starting point to help you get back on track in evaluating your financial goals for the year.
Once you have self-reflected on those objectives, take a few hours to evaluate your finances more specifically. Below, you will find seven key financial metrics you should examine thoroughly. These numbers will allow you to see where you are currently are and what you need to do to reach your goals. Remember, the more you know, the better off you will be in the future.
1. Know Your Net Worth
One of the most important metrics you should evaluate is simply your net worth. By definition, your net worth is the amount by which your assets exceed your liabilities. Another way to look at this is the overall value of everything you own minus your debts. This number will allow you to measure the status and heath of your personal and professional finances, while also setting you up financially for your future goals. To accurately determine your net worth, use this tool here. This will allow you to
2. Know Your Debt Levels?
The next step is to look at your debt and expenses. Start off by evaluating your 2015 debt levels. Then compare them to a month-by-month spread. Here, it is important to go beyond the numbers and see what you can do to optimize your financial situation. Ask yourself these questions: What was your biggest expense? Did you borrow any money within the past twelve months? What can you do to pay down your debt faster? These overarching questions will allow you to strategize and plan a way you can save even more.
3. Retirement Planning
For some people, this may be a new concept. For others, this is seen as a bi-weekly ritual. Like it or not, time will always be never-ending. Because of this, you need to make it a point to plan a retirement budget. A simple approach is to assess whether you are contributing any amount to a 401K, IRA, or retirement account set up by work. If not, try and find an option that will allow that. Once that is set up, try and find a way to optimize your savings. The best way to do this is to think about your goals. Think about what you are looking for twenty years from now and how much you should have at that point. This will provide you the necessary incentive to continue, and possible increase, your savings.
4. What is your Credit Report Score?
One of the best indicators of analyzing your personal financial health is to evaluate your credit score. You may have heard this phrase thrown around when you are looking for an apartment or looking for a new credit card. Whatever is the case, having a strong credit score can alleviate any pressures in specific financial situations. To get your credit report for free, check out annualcreditreport.com.
Outside of your retirement, there are a variety of different aspects when it comes to savings. One of which is the cash position that can be handled in a short-term use. And the other is for unexpected emergencies. This is usually what we call an emergency fund. At the end of the day, we cannot predict the future. There are unforeseen events such as a hospital visit or a car crash that will require us to have a lump sum ready to use. If you have not already set up this type of account, I would strongly advise you to begging saving for your emergency fund. Remember, just because you own a crystal ball does not mean you can predict the future.
6. Student Loans
This is more for the fresh college graduates who are seeing the adult world for the first time. Unless you were on a scholarship or you were fortunate to have your parents pay for your education, student loans may be the dark cloud following you everywhere you go. The best way to tackle this problem is by knowing the monthly amount. This goes back to the second financial metric, “Know Your Debt Levels.” By having a conceptual understanding of this expense, you will be able to control how you are going to pay it off and how much you can save each and every month.
7. Future Investment Opportunities
If your investment is financially healthy, you should begin exploring other investment opportunities. If, however, you are hesitating about the situation, talk to a financial expert. Either way, exploring different avenues and finding new ways to grow your money other than work can be incredibly beneficial to your campaign.