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You Can't Afford to Ignore These Financial Details

You Can't Afford to Ignore These Financial Details

If you’re a big picture type of person, certain details of your finances can easily slip through the cracks. While it’s important to watch the bottom line, it’s equally important to pay attention to all the items that contribute to the bottom line, too. Here are some financial details you can’t afford to ignore.

How much you spent this month. Continually monitoring your spending is key to ensuring you’re staying within your budget and not spending more than you’ve planned. You can use a service like Mint.com to analyze your spending without having to do all the tracking work yourself. Or, if you like a more hands on approach, you can keep a journal with your spending and total up all the categories.

What transactions processed through your accounts this month. Review your transaction lists to catch any instances where you were overcharged, where payments may not have gone through, or, more importantly, fraudulent transactions. Do this even if your balances seem about right. Sometimes fraudsters try to process little charges that go unnoticed before hitting accounts with larger, more serious charges.

Whether your budget still balances out. Revisit your budget periodically to confirm that your planned spending still falls below your income. It’s especially important to review your budget whenever you have a major life change like a job loss, marriage or divorce, new addition to the family, or a major purchase like a house or car.

How your investments are performing. Monitor your interest-bearing accounts often to be sure your investments still align with your overall strategy. If you actively invest in stocks, you can’t afford not to pay attention not only to how your stocks are performing, but also how stocks in the same sector and how the overall stock market is performing. Watching your riskier investments can keep you from losing money.

The interest rates on your credit cards. It’s best not to carry a credit card balance at all, except when you have a 0% rate. If you have great credit, there’s no reason to pay more than the average interest rate. Ask for a lower interest rate on any credit cards with high interest rates or move your balance to another credit card if your credit card issuer won’t budge. 

Your personal net worth. A personal balance sheet comparing your assets to your liabilities will give you an understanding of your financial picture at a point in time. Your goal is to have a positive net income, that is, more assets than liabilities. Start by listing of all your assets including cash on hand and in accounts and the resale value of your home, vehicle, and other property. Then list all your liabilities: credit card balances, mortgage and auto loan balances, student loans, or any other debts. Subtract total assets from total liabilities to get your net worth.

There are several factors that play into your overall financial health. Paying close attention to all these factors is essential for long-term success.

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Comments 1

Frank on Monday, 02 November 2015 14:35

I would say the 2 most important here are (1) whether your budget still balances out, and (2) how your investments are performing. Every month you should check your spending with your budget to see how you much you are saving/spending. This is critical to your financial health, no matter how much you have. I also would highly recommend checking your investments. It may give you information on whether you need to reallocate your portfolio or if you are performing better than the overall market!

I would say the 2 most important here are (1) whether your budget still balances out, and (2) how your investments are performing. Every month you should check your spending with your budget to see how you much you are saving/spending. This is critical to your financial health, no matter how much you have. I also would highly recommend checking your investments. It may give you information on whether you need to reallocate your portfolio or if you are performing better than the overall market!
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Monday, 14 October 2019

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