How to Perform a Financial Checkup on Yourself
May 31, 2013
I could hardly believe it when I looked at the calendar and realized that the year is halfway over. This time of year is a perfect time for performing a financial checkup on yourself.
A financial checkup can help you pinpoint problems with your finances, and recognize issues that need attention. As you perform a checkup on your financial situation, here are a few things to keep in mind . . . .
Where Do You Stand?
Your first step is to figure out where you stand. A good way to get a snapshot of where you are right now is to use your net worth as a gauge. Your net worth can provide you with a benchmark for measurement. Are you better off than you were six months ago? Better off than you were a year ago? Look at your net worth for a basic idea of where you’re at.
It’s not just about net worth, though. You also need to acknowledge where you stand in other areas as well:
- Insurance: Review your insurance policies. Do you have adequate coverage? Are you getting the best deal? You might be able to save money if you are willing to shop around a little bit. You can even look at your health insurance policy. Even if you aren’t in open enrollment, you can evaluate your coverage now, and plan ahead for the possibility of making changes.
- Investments: Look at your investment portfolio. Does your asset allocation still match your target? Or do you need to make adjustments? Are you contributing as much as you can to retirement accounts? Find out whether or not you need to make changes to your investments in order to improve the situation.
- Bills: Go through your regular bills. Do you have recurring costs that are draining your finances? Figure out if you can shop around for a better deal, or if you can eliminate some bills altogether. This includes your mortgage. Perhaps you can better your financial situation if you are willing to refinance.
- Debt: What debts do you have? Consider how much progress you have been making in paying down your debt obligations, and try to figure out how you can avoid racking up more debt. If you don’t have a debt pay down plan already, now is the time to create one.
- Income: Don’t forget to review your income. Take a look at your income sources, and consider how stable they are. You can review the possibility of a raise, or of finding a way to diversify your income.
Once you have a handle on where you stand, you can figure out how to take the next steps toward improving your overall financial situation.
Upcoming Financial Issues
While you are performing your financial checkup, don’t forget to consider upcoming financial issues. What expenses will you have in the coming months? Will you owe money for a semi-annual insurance premium? Are you planning on going back to school? Do you want to buy a home in the next six months?
Think about what’s next, and how you will pay for it. Now is a good time to break down the actions you will need to take in order to reach your goals. Think about what needs to happen if you plan to improve your situation, and then create an action plan.
Your financial checkup offers you the perfect opportunity to learn about what you need to do next in order to succeed, and to let you know where you might be coming off track. Taking a little time to re-evaluate your situation, and tweak your finances a little bit, can be a great way to ensure that you are on the right path to a better financial future.
How did your financial checkup go? What improvements do you need to make? Leave a comment!
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