If You Don’t Do This You Will Probably Not Gain Control of Your Personal Finances

Financial Assessment

Have you ever wondered how you can gain control of your finances?

Have you ever wondered whether or not you will ever find the time to manage your finances?

I have seen many individuals who make a good income and struggle with managing their finances.

It’s unfortunate when a few small changes can help them save time and get their finances under control.

I know you want to have control of your finances so you can have a financial peace of mind as quickly as possible.

And that’s why I am going to show you what you must do first to begin gaining control of your finances so you can have the financial peace of mind you desire.

In fact it’s the same place everyone who wants to achieve financial peace must begin.

This one simple thing is:

Understand where you currently stand financially

The fastest and easiest place to start helping you get your financials under control is to know where you currently stand financially.  To gain control of your finances you need to only look at your current financial situation. It will help you know what changes need to be made.

The best way to do this is to perform a financial assessment.  It’s the first step in your journey to simplify and to have an understanding of your current finances. Doing a financial assessment answers the questions you need to ask in order to simplify your finances.

To begin your financial assessment take a few minutes to think about what your current financial situation looks and then write it down. Your entire financial picture can be seen on your monthly statements. To help you have better picture of what your current finances looks like gather all of your bank statements, debt statements (credit cards, mortgage, student loans, or other debt),and investment accounts (retirement and non-retirement).

Also gathering the statement will show you how many accounts you have and what is paperless and what is not paperless.

Now that you have gathered your statements write down your thoughts on what your finances look like. Many times we believe our finances are better than or worse than we thought but the only way to determine this is to actually take a look at them instead of just guessing. I have assumed things were better than they were but once I took a look at the situation it was worse than I thought so the best way to do this is to look for yourself.

Additionally while you have all of your statements in front of you why not construction a personal financial to determine your current net worth. Is it positive or negative? There you go. You have seen just one of the 9 steps to simplify your finances so you can begin to have the financial peace of mind you desire.

So the secret is to know where you stand first.

I have created a cheat sheet and checklist to help you begin to simplify your finances within 30 days.

To gain access to the checklist and cheat sheet click below to get your hands on this which can help you get control of your finances within the next month.

Til next time, remember to take one step at a time to simplify.

Your Vacation Planning Can Help with Your Financial Planning in 10 Easy Steps

10 Steps Vacation Planning

Who does not dream of going on a great vacation with family or friends? At least I know I enjoy taking a vacation each year. Planning your vacation can take some time to plan.

However, we always seem to find a way to make it happen.  We find a way to save enough money, we shop around for the best deals, and we know where we are staying and what we will be doing while on vacation.

But when it comes to our personal finances we seem to forget how to plan. We can spend more time planning our vacation than planning our financial future. Why not apply the same excitement and get it done attitude to financial planning as you do to your vacation plans. Doing this can have just as much impact on your life as a vacation or even a greater impact.

I know planning can be a daunting task. You probably ask yourself: Where do I begin? What’s step one? How can I save more?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning, especially when you haven’t planned before.

Here are 10 steps to help you create a financial plan like you were planning your vacation:

Visualize the Perfect Situation

When planning your vacation you have to decide what’s the ideal place for you to visit, activities you want to do, how you plan to travel, and what time of the year you want to travel.

The same as planning your finances. Write down what you would like your financial life to look like.  What would it take to get there? What time frame do you have to get there?

Set a Budget

You usually set a budget when planning for your vacation at least I hope you do.  Same with your finances, set a budget to manage your monthly expenses. Having a budget is the key to a good financial plan.  A well prepared budget enables you to have a clearer picture of your spending.

Decide Where You Want to Go

You have a picture of the perfect place and have set your budget. Now you have to decide where you want to go. By deciding where you are going it sets a goal to work towards. A lot of people talk generally about what they want their finances to look like but never set a specific goal or put a plan in place.

Deciding where you want to go is important as it forces you to set a definite goal. Having goals in place makes it easier to commit to.

Determine Your Time Frame

When vacation planning you usually decide if you’re traveling by car or plane and how long you will be on vacation so you can plan appropriately.

The same can be applied to your financial plan by determining the time frame it will take to reach your financial destination you desire. To help achieve your goals establish long-term and short-term financial goals.

Start Saving Money

Time to start saving! When vacation planning I am sure you save over time to cover the cost of your trip. I try to allocate funds throughout the year to my vacation fund. It makes it easier to save that way.

Same with your personal finances. Establish a saving plan. Having a saving plan in place will provide you with a financial peace of mind. Here are three savings you should consider establishing if you do not have any savings in place:

Retirement Savings

Emergency Savings

Future Spending Savings

Automate Your Bills

While you are traveling you don’t want to forget about your bills so automate them. Same is true with your personal finances get rid of your mail, go paperless, and set up online bill payment for your recurring bills to ensure you won’t miss any.

Consolidate

When packing for your trip you try to consolidate as much as you can. The more suit cases you bring adds additional cost and hassle so you consolidate the number you bring with you.   You do this by reduce the amount of items you bring with you.

Consider doing the same with your financial accounts. Consolidate your bank accounts, investment, accounts as well as providers. Consolidating will help:

  • Reduce the number of statements you receive
  • Easier to keep track of your accounts
  • Possibly reduce fees

Buy Insurance

When planning your vacation, you may consider purchasing travel insurance. This will help protection you if something occurs and you have to cancel your vacation. Maybe some occurs while you are traveling travel insurance may help cover some of the cost of this unexpected situation.

Same is true with your personal finances. You want to make sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage. You do not want to be left standing uninsured when a medical, natural disaster, or other financial situation occurs which can place a significant financial burden on you.

Hire professional help

When planning a vacation you may hire a travel agent to help you arrange your travel plans and accommodations.  So when preparing your financial plan consider hiring professional advisers to help you reach your financial destination.  The ride to your destination will be smoother and quicker if you hire good financial professionals to help you.

Stay Focused and Inspired

The planning process can be long and time consuming but stay focused at the goal at hand. Here are some inspiring stories how other have simplified their finances which will help you:

Simple Inspiration Interview – How Creating a Budget Helped Mr. CBB Simplify His Finances

Simple Inspiration Interview – Taking a day off helped Peter Anderson Simplify his Finances

Simple Inspiration Interview with Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker

Use these 10 steps as a guide to help better organize and simplify your personal finances.

But no matter what your financial goals are, these steps will help you stay organized as you begin to put your financial plan in place.

So take action now by applying these simple tips to design your financial future and begin to simplify your personal finances.

Do You Have Financial Game Plan in Place?

Simple Financial Lifestyle Do you have Financial Plan 2

Have you designed your financial game plan so you can achieve the financial goals you set for yourself?

As you are probably are aware, this year’s Super Bowl teams are set. The Seattle Seahawks will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49. I am hoping for a better game this year compared to last year’s dominating performance by Seahawks.

The past week the two teams have prepared for the big game by practicing their game plan that they designed to win the Super Bowl. Each team has studied each others’ strengths and weaknesses and designed a plan to win the game. Seattle is looking to stop Tom Brady and his potent offense while New England is looking for ways to exploit the tough Seattle defense.

Just like each of the two Super Bowl teams have their game plan to win the game. If you want to simplify your finances you should design your own personal financial game plan. While the two teams in the Super Bowl have 60 minutes to execute their game plan to win. You on the other hand have more than 60 minutes to execute your game plan.

First you want to identify what your financial objective or goal is. This should be identified before you design your game plan so you can put the best plan in place to win.

Once you have identified your objective and goals you want to achieve its now time to put your game plan in place.

The key to winning any game football or financial is to score more points than your opponent by fielding an offense which can score points while having a solid defense that can  prevent the other team from scoring.

Here are a three Offensive and Defensive keys you should consider when designing your financial game plan

Financial Offensive Keys to the Game

Accumulate Yards to score points

In the game of football, you want your offense to accumulate yards to drive down the field to score touchdowns or field goals. In the Super Bowl each team will have specific plays designed to gain yards. Some plays are designed for short yardage situations while others are designed for long yardage situations.

The same is true regarding your personal finances. One key to financial success is to accumulate wealth by saving money. Designing your short term and long term saving plans will help you to accumulate your wealth which will score you some financial points.

Don’t Get Sacked

Both Super Bowl teams will try to protect their quarterbacks from being sacked. Having good protection from your offensive line can help protect your quarterback from being sacked. In the financial game, the best way to avoid being sacked is to have a financial budget. A financial budget will help you identify where the pressure is coming from and will enable you to put extra protection in place to prevent the sack.

Having a budget in place is like having a good offensive line.  A budget will prevent you from being sacked.  It will help you prevent spending more than you receive each month.

Don’t Turnover the Football

To win the Super Bowl each team must protect the football to prevent turning the ball over. The team with the most turnovers usually does not win. One way to avoid turnovers is to automate.

To simplify your finances you should automate your monthly bills and monthly savings.  By doing this you will not forget to pay your bills which would result in late fees as well as possible interest charges.  Forgetting to save transfer your saving could result in you spending the money instead of saving it.

Financial Defensive Keys to the Game

Protect Your Endzone

On the defensive side each team wants to limit the number of touchdowns the other team scores. The best way to do this is to have a good defensive game plan in place to eliminate those touchdowns. In your financial game plan, you also want to protect your end zone.

The best way to protect your end zone and eliminate those scores is to have insurance in place. Insurance is a great defense.  Having proper insurance in place will help protect your personal property such as car or home.  It will also help cover medical expenses and can help cover funeral expenses as well as provide for your family upon your death.

Avoid the Big Play

If you want to win the Super Bowl your defense can not give up the big play. The other team may have a few trick plays in their game plan to get that big play to score. In the financial game, you have to prepare yourself for those unexpected trick plays.

To do this establish an emergency fund.  An emergency fund will be there to cover those unexpected events that could put you in a financial bind.  If you have a properly funded emergency account in place you are able to handle those unexpected expenses.

Good Red Zone Defense

In the Super Bowl, each teams red zone defense must tighten up to prevent the other team from scoring. The same goes in the personal financial game. You should set up red zone alert when your accounts reach predetermined amounts. By having red zone alerts, you can make adjustments in advance if some things happen like your account being overdrawn or if your account has been compromised you receive alerts.

 

Do you have a game plan for your personal finances? Is the financial game plan you have in place set to help you reach the financial goals you set for yourself?

What are your financial keys to help you win the personal financial game and simplify your personal finances?

How To Reduce Holiday Financial Stress by Planning Now

How to Reduce Financial Stress

 

Yes the Holidays Season is over now so no last minute Christmas shopping to do, no gifts to wrap or Holiday parties to attend.

For some it is a great relieve the Holidays are over because they can cause financial stress, especially if you did not plan or budget adequately for your Holiday spending.

Even though the Holidays are over you now may be stressing and wondering how will I pay for this or how and why did I spend so much this year. No one enjoys that feeling after the holidays. Many times we may be in the festive mood not considering the impact that giving during the holidays will have on our finances. So don’t make the same mistake next year. Start planning now.

I know you are still dealing with this year’s holidays and just want a break but when is the best time to get things in order is right after you finished. You want to do this while everything is still fresh in your mind and you are still feeling the pains of the current year. It’s much easier to recall what you did right and what you can improve upon for next year so you are not feeling the same way next year at this time.

So now is the perfect time to start. In my recent article Avoid the Christmas Hangover, I provided several ways to prepared for the Holidays.

Here are some actions to take now to avoid the Holiday Hangover next year:

Review last year budget and spending

Review your most recent Christmas budget to see if you stayed on budget or not. This will give you a good starting point for next year. Identify where you may have over-budgeted or under budgeted. By doing this you can prepare a more concise budget for next year. Make sure this budget takes into consideration not just gifts but other expenses associated with the Holidays. It’s always better to have budget in place now so you can plan throughout the year.

Buy holiday items now

You may not be thinking of purchasing more holidays items now but post-holiday season is a great time to stock up on these items. The day after Christmas stores will begin selling holiday items at deep discounts so why not stock up on some. You can save by purchasing these items now which will help your holiday budget next year. It’s a great way to save money but do not overspend and put yourself in a deeper financial hole than you already are. Also only purchase items you know you will use do not purchase items just because its discounted.

Create list who you will buy for next year

Decide now who you will buy for next year as well as create a list of items you will need. Start with this year’s list and look to see if there will be any additions or subtractions. The list is probably similar to this year’s list but it’s good have the list. You should create the list now so you can purchase your gifts throughout the year for those on your list.

Start Buying Gifts Now

Since waiting until the holiday season to purchase your gifts and other items can be stressful and put a stress on your finances. Purchasing gifts year-round can help save money and helps your budget by spreading out the costs over the year instead of putting it into two months of the year.
You also can avoid the crowds and eliminating overall shopping stress. This way you can make strategic purchases and allow yourself time to make any exchanges should a better deal surface during the holiday season To do this you have to do a little planning.

If you do begin to purchase items now here are a few things to consider:

1. Keep a gift closet. If you are planning to purchase items throughout the year make sure you have some place to store them.

2. Develop a tracking system When purchasing items throughout the year it’s easy to forget what you may have purchase earlier in the year. You want to avoid making duplicate purchases. To avoid this keep inventory of your purchases. This can be done by creating a detailed spreadsheet, or using an apps which can help you track purchases on your smart phone or tablet.

3. Buy extra gifts. So often we need extra gifts unexpectedly. So while you are shopping and come across a great bargain why not buy two. It may not sound like you are not saving but it beats run out to purchase a last minute gift.

Establish a Holiday Saving Account

Once you have established next year’s holiday budget, consider opening an account for your Holiday funds or keep track of your savings in a spreadsheet. Saving monthly will help you save throughout the year instead of wondering where the funds will come from or having to put everything on your credit card during the holidays.

Automating this process will make it easier for you to save each month. The earlier you begin saving the less you have to save each month so why not begin not.

Use your credit card rewards

Many rewards cards offer gift cards or cash back. So as you are making purchases throughout the year consider using the credit card which offers the best reward so during the holidays you can cash in your rewards.

What action are you taking now to help you better prepare for next year’s Holidays to eliminate the Holiday financial hangover?

Til next time take one step at a time to simplify your finances.