Do you have peace of mind about your retirement savings? A key contributor to anxiety is that most of us don’t know how much we are spending now. And we have no idea what our future expenses are likely to be.
A financial planning fact finder can guide you in gathering important information about your assets, debts, insurance, expenses, and goals.
The good news is as you put each piece of the information puzzle in place:
- You get a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.
- Anxiety drops.
- Ideas on helpful things to do will become clearer.
The main thing is to get started. You don’t have to be perfect. As you gather data, you put yourself in a place to make more realistic choices.
Everyone has a different approach to getting a handle on expense tracking. For example, my brother and his wife wrote down everything they spent money on for years. This approach was a lot of work, but it helped them free up funds to save for retirement and to do fun things like travel.
I tried their approach for nine months and found it useful. As I wrote in the post “Tightwad Tips:Small Recurring Savings Add Up”, when we bought a vacation home, we had an added incentive to conserve money. Writing down our expenses helped us come up with cost cuts that weren’t too painful to make.
After a while, I found this method too time consuming but it taught me to take a look at expenses periodically to see what I could trim.
Now we are at a new stage, where my husband is gradually cutting down on the hours he is working (unfortunately, the money goes down, too!) over the next few years.
So, to take the emotion out of dealing with this new stage, we decided it was time we worked with some investment professionals. Right now I am gathering information for a “Financial Planning Fact Finder.”
You can get financial planning organizers from most investment firms. You can also find many variations on the web. Below are links to examples of worksheets I found on BalanceTrack, a financial education website. It doesn’t matter if you track your expenses on a complicated spreadsheet or write them in pencil on a piece of paper. Just total them up each month to see where the money is going.
- BalanceTrack cash flow worksheet
- BalanceTrack expense tracking worksheet
- BalanceTrack net worth worksheet
- BalanceTrack financial goals chart