Set Up a Personal Financial Calendar and Get Organized for the Year
Today people use a variety of apps and tools to help themselves get organized for just about anything. There are apps that allow you to track your health and strive toward fitness goals, and others to help you keep the grocery shopping list in check. The most common calendar apps help you track meetings, appointments, and upcoming vacations. Why not consider a personal financial calendar to get you organized in the coming year?
Familiarize Yourself with Your Current Financial Health
Just like setting a budget, you can't set a personal financial calendar unless you understand your current financial situation. Are you spending more than you bring in each month, or do you actually have a glut of excess money each month? It's vital to take a few minutes to look at your current standing, set goals for the future, and prioritize those goals. You may want to start your financial calendar by creating an emergency fund or increasing contributions into your 401(k).
Create a List of Financial Tasks and Projects
This might be the longest and most complex part of developing your personal financial calendar. In the previous step you may very well have highlighted a number of important goals for your future, and now is the time to ensure you undertake the tasks and projects that will help you achieve those goals. There are a lot of places to start, but your best place to start may be paying down consumer debt. Additional steps include spending wisely to increase savings, adopting a reliable savings strategy, and focusing on your retirement accounts.
On top of all that, you'll want to organize your simple tasks like phone calls, emails, and errands that take away from productivity and complete those in your spare time. Also, remember to keep a close eye on payment deadlines for loans with specific due dates so you don't rack up interest charges or ding your credit.
Review Your Checklist
Establishing a financial calendar and a checklist of tasks to help you achieve your financial goals is great, but it's little more than scribbles on a piece of paper if you aren't going to track your progress and review the checklist from time to time to ensure you are following your own guideline. Devote time once a week to reviewing your tasks for completed efforts, and adding new ones if necessary.
Track for the Long Run
One a month you should sit down to assess what you have accomplished on your financial calendar, and what remains to be done. While you're at it, get out your budget worksheet and compare your budget with your personal financial calendar. Are there tasks and goals that could or should be done differently next month?
Last but not least, don't forget to focus on the distant future. Someday, presumably, you'd like to retire. It is important to balance your short-term goals (saving for college for a child or paying off student loans of your own) with the desire to retire at 65. As you keep one eye fixed down the road and the other watching the short term, don't allow yourself to make unnecessary sacrifices by reprioritizing goals and shifting important targets down your priority list.
Establishing a personal financial calendar doesn't take long, but the impact on your financial health can be tremendous if you devote yourself to tracking and analyzing your accomplishments throughout the year. Contact Financial Asset Management Corporation and let us help you get organized for 2016.