This past year, many of us found ourselves busier and more overwhelmed than ever before. You likely thought about your finances but found yourself pinched for time or exhausted at the thought of planning your financial future. I am here to tell you, finances don’t have to be complicated.
I am a mom of two young children and I run my own business helping families reach their financial goals, so I get how pressed for time you are. Here are five simple steps to help you have your best money year yet.
1 Know where your money goes
Schedule yourself 30 minutes to review your spending. You don’t need to have spreadsheets with every expense perfectly categorized — just have the last 3 months of bank and credit card statements handy. Then, sort your expenses into categories: regular bills and payments, necessary everyday expenses, discretionary expenses, and unexpected expenses. Over the last three months what was your average in each category? Guess what: now you have a budget!
2 Be prepared for the unexpected
Save 3 – 6 months worth of your budget in a separate emergency fund account. Determining how many months depends on how secure your income is, and how often you find yourself with unexpected expenses. Write down the amount you need to have in your emergency account then set up a regular payment into it until you reach your target.
3 Get organized
Get together all your financial statements, including auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, insurance policies, banks, investments, retirement accounts, etc. Many of these are online so you may choose to save them to a folder on your computer. If you prefer paper, grab a box and a few folders, title the box financial documents and start gathering. Once you have everything together you can utilize the folders to separate and categorize.
4 Get to Dreaming
Now that you have an idea of what and where you spend every month, you’ve set an emergency fund in action, and you gathered all of your financial documents, take a deep breath, relax and think about what's next for you and your family. Time to dream: What do you want your life to look like in 3, 5 or 10 years? Where will you be living, what will the house look like, what will your days consist of, and how will you feel?
Once you have a few ideas, think about how you might get there. If this part is difficult, table it and move on to Step 5.
5 Find your person
As moms we often think we need to do everything. Well, I’m here to tell you, you do not have to do it all. The right financial advisor will change your world. Make a list of what you want from a financial advisor. How will you feel when you have found that person? What role do you want them to play in your life? Talk to a few and choose the one who gets to know you, where you currently stand financially, and what your goals are before they make any recommendations. A great financial advisor can take care of you for life.
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515 Taggart Dr. NW, Ste #130 Salem, Oregon
(503) 585-1464 edwardjones.com
Caitlin Davis, CFP®, AAMS®
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones