Tips to Help You Stay on Track Toward Your Long-Term Goals
One of the keys to long-term success is to maintain an organized financial life. This task can sometimes feel overwhelming with countless statements, tax forms, recurring bills, and estate planning documents. Here, we provide tips to help you organize your financial life.
#1 – Know where you stand
The first step in organizing your financial life is to gain an understanding of your current financial situation. Begin by taking inventory of your accounts, assets and liabilities. Subtract your total liabilities from your total assets to assess your net worth. This number can help you determine whether you need to adjust your current spending and saving habits in order to remain on track toward achieving your long-term goals.
- Savings and checking account balances
- Investment and retirement accounts
- Real estate equity
- Valuables, such as jewelry and artwork
- Paid-off vehicles, boats, etc.
- Mortgage balance
- Student loans
- Credit card debt
- Auto loans
- Any other debt
#2 – Set goals
It’s impossible to determine whether you’re achieving financial success if you don’t know what you’re working toward. That’s why it’s important to set specific financial goals and measure your progress toward achieving them. A financial goal is something you want to pursue that will lead you toward the future you envision. Consider the purpose of your savings and investments. Are you trying to save for retirement? Pay for your children’s college expenses? Establish an emergency fund? Pay off your home? Your wealth manager can help you identify your financial priorities, articulate your goals and establish a financial plan to help you achieve success.
#3 – Track your progress
One of the easiest ways to get your financial life in order is by using a financial tracking tool. There are many options for online account aggregation that make it easy to know exactly where you stand in reference to your financial goals. You simply log in to your financial accounts through the tracking tool, and your account data is automatically updated on a regular basis. This allows you to view a snapshot of your net worth, investment performance, saving and investing trends and more. Most tools also let you set a budget and automatically track your progress. Many also offer an online vault where you can securely store important documents, such as estate planning documents and lists of account logins. Popular tracking tools include Quicken, eMoney, Mint, Personal Capital and You Need a Budget.
#4 – Pay your bills automatically
For recurring bills, such as credit cards, mortgage payments and utilities, consider establishing automatic payments. This can streamline the bill pay process and help ensure no payments are missed or late. If you decide to automate payments, just remember to review all accounts on a monthly basis to verify accuracy.
#5 – Organize your files
Establish a system for organizing both hard copy and electronic documents. Consider storing hard copies in a designated filing cabinet. Electronic documents can be stored in the online vault of your financial planning software (if you have one), in the cloud or on an external storage drive. Don’t forget to back up your files on a regular basis. Could you use some help organizing your financial life? Creative Planning is here for you. Our experienced professionals work to ensure every aspect of your financial life is well cared for and working to help you achieve your long-term goals. Schedule a call to learn more.