As one year ends and another begins, it’s a natural time for reflection — financial and otherwise. Here are some suggestions for evaluating your financial progress in 2016, with the hopes of planning an even better 2017.
This is your financial big picture and it makes for a great starting point. In essence, the net worth calculation asks, “How much are you worth?” And the more important question for our purposes: Has your net worth increased or decreased over the past year?
Assets minus liabilities (debts) equals your net worth. Calculate the value of all your assets (home, vehicles, retirement accounts, savings, investments, belongings, etc.) minus any liabilities or debt (mortgage balance owed, car note balance, student loans, credit card debt, medical bills, etc.). The difference between your assets and liabilities is your net worth.
If you did this exercise last year, how has your net worth changed over the last 12 months? And what contributed to the changes?
When it comes to using a budget, there are various tools — from a paper and pencil budget to the envelope system, and from software to online tools. When trying to motivate people to use a budget for the first time, I often say that the best budget tool is the one you’ll actually use. However, for the purpose of a year-end analysis, there’s nothing like an electronic tool, whether that means budget software or an online service…