Organize Your Financial Paperwork

The Art of Love & Money Organize Your Financial Paperwork

If you got started on tracking your Net Worth last week, you may have noticed that you have a lot of paperwork and it can be hard to find all that you need when you need it.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be walking you through how I organize our financial paper work.  We will also delve into ways to keep electronic accounts in order and creating systems to maintain it all

Stay with me now.  It’s about to get real, but I am going to walk you through it one step at a time, so don’t get scared off.

Can you just imagine your entire financial life in one, organized space?  Can you imagine needing a document and knowing where it is without having to sort through all of the piles on every flat surface in your home?  To be overcharged for a bill you have already paid and know exactly where the receipt to dispute the claim is and being only a minor irritant in your day instead of a full blown crisis?

Tax papers, Social Security mailings, bills, credit card balances and agreements, student loans, mortgage papers, insurance documents all in one home – not scattered about your house in various boxes.  You’ll love it – once it’s done.

The process itself is a little tedious, but let’s just knock it out and then celebrate afterwards, shall we?

My paperwork started out in several random cardboard banker’s boxes filled with newspaper clippings, photo envelopes, kid’s craft papers, pay stubs, and yeah, pretty much a lot of scattered junk, and oh yes, my most important financial documents.  It was not pretty.

Don’t be like the old me. Do this instead.

  • Financial File Box
  • Mail/Processing In-box
  • Binder
  • List of Accounts and websites
  • Password Systems

ACTIONABLE STEP: For now, just gather all of the paper stacks in the house.  Set in one spot with multiple boxes to sort into piles.  It’s best if you have a flat surface like the dining room table or the living room floor that is cleared away for separate piles. Sort through the junk mail and toss it into a laundry basket used for recycle.  If you have papers you are concerned about shredding – and you have a shredder, set that up.  But mostly just be done with it!  If you don’t have a shredder – I have resorted to this bizarre yet  – free and genius   – work around: wet the papers in the sink and let the ink run and become unrecognizable. Once they aren’t sodden and the sink is drained you can throw them in a grocery sack and dispose as regular trash. Throw in some old coffee grinds and egg shells for good measure. The point here is this – DON’T get deterred.

Just sit and sort .  It’s best if you have at least 3 boxes/laundry baskets for sorting and big ol’ recycle can.

  • Keep – Financial.  Set aside for financial file box day.  No need to file now – just save.
  • Keep – Non-Finance Set aside for file cabinet day – No need to file now – just sort.
  • Keep – Memorabilia – Set aside for Memorabilia day – No need to store now, just
  • Recycle/Trash
  • Secure Trash

This is no picnic so have a reward for yourself when you are finished with stage one.  Perhaps a bonfire with friends that can double as a secure trash disposal, or a movie night with your favorite bottle of wine or pint of ice cream.  Maybe it’s a bubble bath and a candle and your best cup of tea.  I don’t care what it is – as long as you do.the.work. and then enjoy.the.reward.  Even if you think this is silly – please just try it out – I don’t want you getting burnt out before you begin!

 

 

 

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Motivation Monday

The Art of Love & Money The Grass is Greener Where You Water it

The Grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The fact of the matter is, the grass is greener where you water it.

Perhaps you have heard this, too.  The first time I heard this, it struck through me like lightning.  Perhaps because I had grown up hearing that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, meaning things always look better in someone else’s  life, that you don’t know all of their struggles, you can only see their facade, you don’t know what it took to get where they are at, or what their life is like inside their walls.

I knew this to be true, but to hear it stated in such a way that I could change it, and that it was up to me and only me, resonated new life and meaning into that old saying.

This spring we had new sidewalk poured in our backyard.  We had waited to do this project for over 15 years, which seems inherently ridiculous.

But, the truth of the matter is, there were always other priorities higher up than a freshly poured concrete walkway. Soccer shoes and dance recitals, family vacations, the kids’ perfectly straight pearly white grins, our beach resort anniversary trips, a furnace unit,  high school extracurricular activities and graduation parties, vehicle replacements. And I am not one bit sorry to have put all of those ahead of new concrete.  But, it sure is nice to have that long standing item crossed off of the to-do list along with the new furnace and AC unit, and waterproofing the basement.  Completely banal items that have been staring me in the face for well over a decade.

Do you know what else comes with freshly poured concrete?

Sowing new grass seed.

The dirt filled into the chasm left behind when the forms are pulled from the sides of the new pour quickly become a breeding ground for common backyard weeds.  My husband plucked the weeds, tilled the soil and  threw down the seed and within a week we had an impressive amount of sprouts.  He watered religiously at first.  And then only by sheer luck, having optimistically planted the seed in July (where it gets very hot in the Midwest) it rained for several days in a row.  By the fifth day I was really blown away by how much progress had been made towards a lush green lawn.

Visions of a crisply mowed grass line filled my future…these edges were going to look amazing by this time next year…

And then we were busily distracted by life and it went forgotten for a couple of days.

By the second day of mild neglect, about 75% of the seed perished.

The grass is greener where you water it.

Not where you had good intentions to water it.  Not where you thought about watering it, but then you got distracted by all.the.things. and ya know, life.  Not where you had hoped to water it.  But where you actually put it above all else and water it.

Even when it seems like it would be fine to skip it just this *once*.

Our finances, our lives, our potential future is a lot like that grass.  And not the hardy grass that comes back from dormancy after a long, blustery winter, but the delicate fragile grass sprouts that are fledglingly dependent upon you, and you alone, to take the time to nourish it every step of the way, day in and day out.

Don’t worry – it won’t always be this hard.  Once you have gotten a good financial system set up and under way, you will only need to divert snippets of attention to it on a weekly or biweekly basis. Your finances will be able to withstand longer periods of drought and disinterest.

But, in the beginning, if you want to establish a lush green landscape, you must provide a good long drink from the spicket and turn your attention to where it matters most.

For the fact of the matter is, the grass is greener where you water it.

ACTIONABLE STEP:  Think about how you can water your own grass to make it greener.  What is the ONE thing that you need to focus on daily that will improve your personal finances today and in the future?  Make a commitment to work towards that goal daily until you have accomplished that goal or it becomes a habit.  Is it organizing your paperwork or budgeting, setting up auto payments or automatic drafts to your saving accounts?  Block off several sessions over the course of the next month to work towards greener grass in your own pastures.

 

 

Exploring Kansas City – Where To Stay

My husband and I  love a good weekend getaway.  A chance to reconnect on a long drive through loud music, sing a longs, and a chance for uninterrupted conversations.  We haven’t had a trip for two in a good long while, and the month of July houses both our anniversary and my birthday, so it seemed as good as time as any to hit the open road.

We decided on Kansas City, MO.  We have been wanting to check it out for a while now.  We had heard of their numerous city fountains, BBQ, and live jazz scene.  What’s not to like?

I hit the official Kansas City Tourism website.  KC, you had me at Over/Under Tours – Lofty Heights and Underground Sights in KC.   33 For Free lent encouragement as well.

Mu husband’s co-worker’s wife had told us that they have had good luck getting a hotel through Hotwire when they go to St. Louis, MO.  I have always avoided that site because I didn’t like the idea of not knowing what you were getting, but she assured me that they have had good luck and that you can usually guess which hotel you will get by the star rating and the location area, and after obsessively planning other trips, I welcomed the idea of someone else choosing one detail for me.  We were only staying for a short while, so what could it hurt?

I hopped on Hotwire, set a four star property search in the Power & Lights District and hoped for the best.  I could see from my usual booking site, Hotels.com what the possibilities were and I hoped for the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center because it had a roof-top pool and we had yet to be in a pool this summer.  The rate on other hotel websites was $179 a night and that doesn’t include taxes, charges, and parking.  While I do like a high end hotel in a prime walk-able location in the city, those numbers quickly eat into our foodie and cocktail budget.  Hotwire offered an undisclosed location for $113 per night, I accepted.  Got the hotel I wanted for a roof top pool at a savings of $66.  Foodie and cocktail budget is lookin’ up!

We now had the location, the hotel, and a loose itinerary.  We travel to Minnesota to visit family quite often, so we are pretty quick and efficient with the packing and the preparation process, so we were all ready to go other than booking Coco’s kennel.  Her regular kennel was booked, which is always a bummer because the doggie play yard is on farmland with a pond and doggie play yard, and it’s on the way out of town.  We had to book her at one of the alternates -which thankfully also offers extended doggie play times – this will become relevant at the end of our trip.

So, where to stay?  I highly suggest staying downtown in a hotel near the Power & Light District with a shuttle.  We enjoyed our stay at the Sheraton, but I’m sure there are plenty of good options in the area.  Just get out & explore.  All in all, we prefer to save on the where to stay & splurge on the exploring and using Hotwire afforded us a nice location at an okay price.

ACTIONABLE STEP: Explore Kansas City virtually and then check out convenient weekend getaways near you and plan out a trip just for fun.  You may be able to go in the near future, you may not be able to, but half of the fun is in the planning and the browsing.  The next time you have a free weekend, you’ll already have an idea tucked away for just the right occasion.

 

Track Your Net Worth – Fill in Your Numbers

Track Your Net Worth The Art of Love & Money

Happy Wednesday ~ I hope your week is going well and that you are enjoying summer!

Last week you downloaded your free net worth tracker and personalized it to your own unique situation.  If you didn’t do that already The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker FREE Download now.

 

The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker
The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker = Instructions – Assets
NetWorthInstructions-2
The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker – Instructions – Liabilities

This week, work on filling in the numbers.  The easiest, most up-to-the minute way to do this is to log on to each of your accounts and plug in the numbers as you go.

Have a scratch pad of paper handy to take notes.

You may want to write down your passwords as you reset them, if need be.

You may also want to take note of any to-do items you run into as you go.  Let’s say that you can’t get instant online access to one account or you got locked out for too many password fails, just make a not on your to-do list and keep going.

Don’t lose momentum.

For retirement and savings accounts, simply log in to each account and fill in the balance values for each account.

For vehicle values, look up Kelly Blue Book Value using an honest, modest valuation or the vehicle’s condition on a private sale.  This is what you would get if you sold it to another person – you don’t want to trade a vehicle in – that’s not how you get a good sale price. Check also Edmunds and AutoTrader. Use an average of the three or the lowest value for an accurate representation.  Cars lose their value quickly so you don’t want to over-inflate their value in your head.

For your home’s value, use the lowest sale price you can find either on Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, or your city’s tax assessment.  Housing prices can fluctuate rapidly so you don’t want to count on more equity than you will actually have at the time of the sale.  It’s best to plan for the low end, and hope for the high end when it comes to assets.

Questions/feedback? Please email me!  I want for this to be an awesome resource for you.

Want to share with a friend? That is amazing!  But can you do me a favor, and send them a link, so they can get their own copy?  I want to get in touch with people and for them to know where to find me if they are looking for more resources.

ACTIONABLE STEP: Sit down with your favorite beverage and a good podcast or playlist and cruise through your numbers.  The easiest, most up-to-the-minute way is to log in to your online accounts and insert the numbers as you go.

skype-image

CAN’T BEAR TO GO IT ALONE? The first 5 people to send me an email at artofloveandmoney@gmail.com will receive a free 15 minute personal financial coaching session via skype and we will walk through your scenarios together.

What does that look like?  I run the excel spreadsheet template, ask you to look up your numbers in a conversational manner and by the time we are done – you have a completed spreadsheet set up for life.  Just because I love ya and I want good things for you.

Onward,

Rachelle

This Much I Know is True

The Art of Love & Money This Much I Know is True

Today is my birthday, and this much I know is true:

I know more today than I did in my early 30’s and I knew more in my early thirties than I did in my twenties, although I am still wrong sometimes, probably much more often than I know.

I don’t believe in regret.  Not really,  The only thing I have ever regretted, truly, is the anger and the yelling.  I have spat my ugly vicious anger at the people I love most in this world and I will never have the opportunity to take it back.  It’s there, like a scar, you can remove the nail, but the wound remains.  Bad decisions?  They make great stories.  Failure? You get over them.  You learn.  Having my daughter too young?  Still to this very day the best thing I have ever created in my entire life.  The wrong boy?  Well, it was fun at the time, and I got my daughter out of it, so I can never regret that.  Not that he was the only wrong boy.  There were many.  Financial mishaps?  You can always make more money, and make better decisions next time.  Missed opportunity, well.  Yes.  Do try to be more daring and brave and serendipitous, but you can’t be two places at one time, and I still think I’ve done damn well for myself.  Loving too much, giving too much?  Well.  Yes, that stings, but not nearly as much as not loving too much, not giving too much.

I still haven’t found my tribe.  Yes, I have friends, and some of them are long time friends and some of them are close friends and know almost everything about me.  But, I have lost many friends along the way for no particular reason I can think of.  I used to think it was me, that I had done something wrong, had rubbed them the wrong way, was not good enough, or  “too good”.  But now I am learning, that is not it at all.  I just have more people to meet.  In my late late 30’s having had most of my friends most of my life and having lived within a 20 mile radius my whole life, I still have only one friend that I can think of that would show up for me, really show up, if I were dying.  And I don’t spend nearly enough time with her.

Friends who hold your hair back so that you can purge the contents of you stomach on the side of the road on the way home from girl’s night out are not the same as friends who will hold your hair back as you are dying.  Not that I am any where near close to dying, but the realization I had this year that I have but ONE friend I can trust to be there for me in that time, has me at a point I can never come back from, this is not my tribe, and therefore I must continue to put myself out there, so that I can meet them, I know they are out there.

You don’t know that you are with the wrong boy until much later.  Not even at the break-up do you really know.  It’s years later before you know.  There are red flags, but you blow straight past them.  Try to focus on them, though.  To save yourself some heartache.  The wrong boy will have you second guessing yourself all of the time.  You’ll keep trying to make it work, but it just won’t.  The wrong boy won’t connect to your family, your friends will have some things to say that you won’t want to hear.  The wrong boy will feel like the right boy all the way until you are well into the next stages and phases of your life.  Until you are with the one who IS the right one, and you would have bypassed completely if you had stayed with the wrong one.  That makes it tough to know.

My husband is far from perfect.  But, really, how awful would that be?  Can you imagine the suffocating pressure of being with the perfect man, how you would never measure up?  To be quite clear, I am far from perfect as well.

I drive him crazy.  Just ask him, he will tell you, in all things, good and bad, I drive him completely mad.  And then back again to pretty darn near perfect.

My husband lights me up in ways that I have never known before.  When all is right with him, I feel a lightness in my step, a lifting in my chest, an airiness that all is right with the world.  When things aren’t right with him, all else goes dark.  Even good days aren’t even remotely okay.  I wear the darkness over me like a cloak.  I’m working on this, and have gotten better at it, but I also have been learning – I am an empath who takes on discomfort felt all around me, and when it is with someone I am close to it can be debilitating.   I need to remove myself physically and mentally from the present.  I need to take a long walk, I need to journal, I need to work on a project that envelopes my thought processes.  And I need to trust, that this is a valley and tomorrow or the next day or the next week will be a mountain top.  It will all be okay eventually.

Our kids will never know the depths of the love we have for them.  The planning and orchestrating we put into juggling every available resource so that they could have what they want, we had wanted for ourselves, or wished we had had but didn’t get for whatever reason.  The completely irrational pride we feel in seeing them hitting their stride.  Yes, we know their life is their own, but they are bit and pieces of us walking around in this world, carrying out some parts and degrees of our own values and ethics, drive and hunger, mistakes and follies, and when things are going well for them – the sun and the stars align, and when things are even a little bit hard for them, we get so uncomfortable that it takes every ounce of will power we possess to not jump in and do it for them.  Because that would rob them of the lessons and the experience they will need to succeed any further in life.  For we are capped at our own potential, and if we do for our children as we would have done for ourselves, they may also be capped at our own potential so we must let them flounder through it, our hearts melting down the center of our chests.

All the best things in life have little to nothing to do with money.  Yes, money is nice.  Yes, I believe that managing your resources – time, energy, and money will make your life exponentially better – but money doesn’t translate into phone calls from your grown kids, or adoration from your grandchildren, or complete and utter joy of a beautiful glimpse in nature, or a fulfilled marriage, where you partner well together and things just flow.  And when they don’t flow, one of you swoops in and fills in the slack.  Because, you know, Goals.  You have them, you know his goals, he knows yours.  You give each other plenty of space to complete them on your own, but if something needs to be done, there aren’t any negotiations about it – just some communication about the situation, what you need, and when.

When you worry, you rob yourself of the mental capacity to actually be able to handle the situation.  When you find yourself obsessively worrying over a problem, it’s time to walk away.  It’s best if you physically get up and go for a walk.  Outdoors, with sunshine, fresh air and heavy physical breathing.

There is always a means to get to where it is you need to be going.  You might not get there today, or tomorrow or the next.  But you will get where you need to be one day – if you put in the work.  Stuff doesn’t just happen.  It really doesn’t.  Luck is opportunity that has been prepared.  If opportunity comes by and you have not prepared, it will pass you by.

Judgement of other people has more to do with you than it does of them.  When you catch yourself repeatedly judging, look internally for the answer.  It’s there, but you have to look inside to find it. If you think someone is lazy and screwing up something over and over, is it possible that you are still kick yourself over missed opportunities, that you have your own regrets, that you are procrastinating yourself, etc.  Seek ye first.

Jealously.  Jealously is your wake-up call.  Seething that someone else takes better vacations, has better hair, is employed in your dream job?  That is your wake-up call to put in the work to get what you want.  Do the work and thank them later.  Be inspired to rise up, don’t pull others down.

The time is going to pass one way or another, you might as well be intentional about where you are going by organizing your resource – time, energy and money – by your priorities.  Put the bulk of your efforts where they matter most to you .  Time, money, and energy are all finite.  Don’t spend them frivolously.

I know a lot now that I didn’t know before.  I can’t wait to know what I’ll know next year that I don’t know now, but I won’t wish the time away because if I know one thing for sure, it’s that time truly does go by so quickly, and you can’t get it back.

This much I know is true,

Rachelle

ACTIONABLE STEP:  Take time today to journal about what you know to be true – please send me your thoughts via email or in the comments.

FOR MORE:

Read Oprah’s What I Know For Sure Columns.  Growing up as a little girl, as a teen, and as a young woman I watched Oprah.  Oh, did I love me some Oprah, especially as I got older and I watched her evolve from the talk show host along side the Phil Donahue’s and Maury Poviche’s of daytime television to THE talk show.  Period.  She is wise, and kind, and thoughtful and discerning, she introduced me to mindfulness, to self-awareness, to personal development, and to Maya Angelou.  I have always loved her ‘What I Know For Sure’ segments and her ideology that every person has a story.

Read Anna Quindlen’s book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.  I love this book.  I love it so much that I bought a copy for every woman in my life the year I turned 35.  My friends got one, my book club girls got one, my mom, my sisters, my daughter, my niece.  Every woman I care about, because this book is to me, like your best girlfriend throughout your life stages that you can flip to and learn from.  Every year for my birthday, I get it out and skim through it.  It is like sitting at the feet of a wise older friend who has lived many more lives than you have, who is willing to be introspective and go there with you.  I appreciate and celebrate this memoir so, so much and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Watch Anne Lamott’s TED talk.  Love her simple, straightforward wisdom with a hint of humor.  In a way that things are funny because they are so innately true.

 

Celebrating Summer

The Art of Love & Money Celebrate Summer

Summer is quickly slipping through our fingers – what have you done to celebrate your summer?  I hope you have laid by the pool, taken long night walks after the sizzle of the day has faded away, fired up the grill and chilled with a beer in hand as your dinner charred to perfection.  I hope you savored a Popsicle as its sticky sweetnes dripped down to your elbow and you have chased the fireflies in the dark of night.

Did you take any trips – Day trips, weekend trips, long vacays, explored your own backyard communities?  Comment below with pictures and share where you have explored and your best recommendation for those locales.

Do you still have plans to go somewhere or have summer list items to secure?  Take some time this weekend to refine the details so you can make it happen.  Don’t put your life on hold ’til someday.

Do something you love, do something you have always wanted to do, do something to celebrate the summer season in all its glorious sweltering heat and beauty.

ACTIONABLE STEP: Review your summer list.  If you don’t have one – make one!  If you did make a list and/or you went on a trip or did something you are excited about, please share it with me or comment below!  I love to get new ideas and I love to live vicariously through others.

 

Track Your Net Worth (Free Download!)

Track Your Net Worth The Art of Love & Money

Hey, there!

I can’t wait to share this with you today, so let’s get right to it.

Last week, we discussed the importance of tracking your net worth and you took a stab in the dark at it with your best guess numbers.

But, TODAY, I am going to share with you my super simple net worth tracking system.  It’s in excel, but don’t be scarrred.  I gotchu.

If you are already a numbers geek, or you know your way around a computer, you will catch right on to this.  It’s simple and easy for a reason – I want to make sure that it is accessible and doable for everyone.  I don’t want for this to be a taxing, time consuming chore.  I want it to be something easy that you look forward to and something that can be done a couple of times a year within 15 minutes to half an hour.

Setup a spreadsheet to track your net worth. Or use mine.  All the heavy lifting is done for you.

What you own – what you owe = Net Worth.

Tracking your net worth will help you to see and appreciate your progress over the months and years.

This is important because our financial lives are scattered throughout so many different documents, bills, and statements it is hard to have a grasp on where we really stand.

Check out the the sample made-up numbers below.  I plugged in some average statistical numbers below and made assumptions for where this case study would be in about 7 months of progress.

NetWorthSample
The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker – Sample – Assets Sample – Assets

The Plus/Minus column is a simple function Column B – Column E = Column F

Assets & Liabilities are totaled at the end of the sections.

The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker
The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker – Sample – Liabilities

ASSETS – LIABILITIES = NET WORTH

So now that you have seen a sample and you are ready to set up your own.

Download.

Save in your Download files and place a copy in your documents directory.  Create a Finance directory if you don’t already have one, then create a sub-directory called ORIGINALS.  Make this copy read-only so that you can refer back to it as needed.

 

Save another copy in your finance directory (making sure this is not ready-only).

 

From there, you can replace Partner 1 with Your Name and Partner 2 with your Spouse’s name, or right click and remove the row if you are single.

Name your labels as descriptively as you need to to suite you and so that you know exactly where to find it – Joint checking account is fine if that’s what you call it, or Wells Fargo checking, US BANK savings, CAPTIOL ONE 360 savings buckets, etc.

The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker
The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker = Instructions – Assets
NetWorthInstructions-2
The Art of Love & Money Net Worth Tracker – Instructions – Liabilities

For today, just set the file up.  Make it your own, personalize it with your name/names, to fit your unique scenarios.  Next week we can fill in the numbers.

Questions/feedback? Please email me!  I want for this to be an awesome resource for you.

Want to share with a friend? That is amazing!  But can you do me a favor, and send them a link, so they can get their own copy?  I want to get in touch with people and for them to know where to find me if they are looking for more resources.

ACTIONABLE STEP: Download my FREE net worth tracker and shoot me an email to tell me what you think.  I love feedback , answering your questions, and helping get you on track.  For today, just set the file up.  Make it your own.  Next week we can fill in the numbers.

skype-image

CAN’T BEAR TO GO IT ALONE? The first 5 people to send me an email at artofloveandmoney@gmail.com will receive a free 15 minute personal financial coaching session via skype and we will walk through your scenarios together.

What does that look like?  I run the excel spreadsheet template, ask you to look up your numbers in a conversational manner and by the time we are done – you have a completed spreadsheet set up for life.  Just because I love ya and I want good things for you.

Let’s get to it,

Rachelle

Follow Up Friday

Follow Up Friday Get It Done Art of Love & Money
Follow Up Friday Get It Done Art of Love & Money

Hey, there!

I am so excited to share what I am working on with you next week – but in the mean time – it’s Friday and I want to follow up in case you missed these posts earlier this week and to remind you to take action on these two very important items.

This weekend, I want to challenge you to make art for your own joy and creativity, and I am really curious to see how close you can come to guessing your own net worth!  Next week we will begin diving in, so get out a scratch pad and write down all that you OWN (assests) minus all that you OWE (Debts) and circle your final number.

If that makes you all sweaty and clammy – no worries, mon!  This is all about getting started where you are at, and won’t it feel amazing to look back on next year to see how far you have come?  I mean the year is going to pass one way or another, you might as well get. it. done as the time flies by.

Much Love,

Rachelle

Do You Track Your Net Worth?

Track Your Net Worth The Art of Love & Money

Do you know your net worth?  Do you track your net worth on a regular basis?

If this question leaves you at a complete loss, it’s time to get out a pad of paper and a pencil and get to scratching down your numbers.

I like to track our net worth about twice a year – once around the New Year and again around our anniversary in July.  It’s become a sort of sentimental ritual that shows us what we can accomplish when we set about working on shared goals and how much progress we really are making even when – especially when –  it feels we are trapped in the mundane of daily living.

Your net worth is basically what you own minus what you owe.

First jot down all of your savings accounts, retirement accounts, the fair market value of your vehicles, your house if you own one.

Now all of the debts that you owe, money your owe to credit cards, department store payment plans, student loans, credit cards, car loans and money you may have borrowed from your parents, friends or family members.

This is your net worth.

Why is it important?  It’s your barometer.  Your net worth shows you how you are doing from year to year, what your progress is, if you are gaining or losing ground.  It can serve as your encouragement when you feel like you are standing still, in limbo making payments to your loans, and faithfully contributing to your retirement accounts but your checking account balance is rather paltry.  It can really amaze you when you look back over a 7 year period to see how far you have come.  It can ground you when you think you rock because you finally have a healthy checking account balance –  but owe so much on your car that you are still in the red.  It can spur you forward when you are on the brink of overflowing into the next $10,000 benchmark.

It can encourage you to see all of the progress you have made since you began that new habit, read that last book, started that new system.

Want to track your net worth with me?  I’d love to see your progress from beginning your journey of reading this blog, adapting my systems as your own, implementing new habits.

You know what else can be really eye-opening about tracking your net worth?

Tracking your own net worth against the political climate and realizing that you have more control over your own personal finances through personal habits than Wall Street, the President of the Untied States, the economy, and the job market.

ACTIONABLE STEP: Get started with a slip of paper, a pen and your memory.  Next week we will take it a step further, but for now, just give it your best guess.

 

Upward,

Rachelle