Manage Your Money Like a Pro (Financial Wellness Quickstart)

First You Need to Envision It

Imagine having real-time balances on every financial account in your name. Your own personal ticker board. Every account, every transaction, in one place. And keep it private. This kind of information is incredibly powerful and would allow you to make better financial decisions throughout your day.

One of the worst pieces of financial advice ever: “automate it and forget about it“. What ends up happening is that you truly do forget about it – forget the interest rate, the fees, actual rate of return, performance – everything. It feels like a good thing, but finances are like the ocean tide, constantly in motion.

Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Schedule a financial date with yourself. Ignoring reality will not make it go away, instead it will deteriorate without your active engagement. Cleaning your financial house is more important than cleaning your home or car or organizing your closet. Allow yourself several hours and make sure you have access to all of the information you might need.

  • Choose a comfortable place without interruptions
  • Let go of criticism, self-doubt and guilt
  • Include smells and sounds that bring comfort – candles, favorite playlist, hot tea, slippers
  • Commit to the process of owning your financial health – no more excuses or explanations

Gather, Review and Take Action

Start with whatever you have available – notebook, excel, google sheets, ledger. List every financial account in your name. First, include the contact information for each one. Next, add details about the account itself – type of account, interest rate, balance (include recent transactions that haven’t been posted), collateral, additional account-holders, fees, payoff date (loans), and beneficiaries.

Once you’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all of your financial accounts, label each one with a purpose. Think about why you have this account and how it fits into your financial plan. Organizing your financial accounts is like organizing your home. Get rid of the things that no longer serve a purpose. Consolidate accounts that seem redundant. Be intentional about each type of financial account and what company you choose to do business with.

After you have organized your financial accounts, keep your records in a safe place. Make sure you have a trusted friend that knows where to find your records in case of an emergency. Don’t include any details in your records about how to access your financial accounts electronically, such as user id’s, passwords or PIN. Anyone that needs to access your accounts should have to provide a Power of Attorney, Death Certificate or other legal document.

Keep Your Records Current

Now that you’ve organized your financial accounts, it’s important to keep the information up to date. Active accounts that you use on a regular basis should be tracked weekly. Loans, Investment Accounts and Savings, should be balanced once a month when you get a statement. Pay attention to unexpected charges or fees. You only have 60 days to dispute a charge.

Track your progress towards your financial goals. Be honest about the things that get in the way or distract you from following through on your plans. By reviewing your financial accounts on a regular basis, you will become even more intentional with your financial decisions. It’s easier to get back on track after a month than starting over years later.

You Are Not Alone

Any type of personal growth can be challenging, whether it’s becoming more active, eating healthier or being more productive. There are lots of tools and resources online and in person to help you succeed. We’ve created several free tools to empower your financial journey.

Once you see what consistent tracking can do for you – for your unique situation, challenges, and goals – the changes in your financial health will be positive. Instead of feeling incompetent or guilty about your finances, you will be empowered to make better intentional choices.

Acknowledge the actions, beliefs and decisions that got you to where you are today. Commit to building consistent financial habits for a stronger future.


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