While you may not think that you need a personal financial management plan, you may be surprised by how much it can help. And for those that are uncomfortable and unsure of their ability or knowledge on the subject, set your fears aside and realize that it is simple math that can help create the future that you desire. It doesn't have to be hard to come up with a personal financial management plan but you do need to take some time to make it happen.
To start with, determine how much money you have coming in. Then determine all of your expenses, yes, all of them. That means figuring out the lattes and espressos as well. Make sure that you add in any gift money or refunds that you may be getting as well into your income. Once you both figures, subtract expenses from income. If you are lucky, you are in the plus side. For those with a negative result it is time to determine ways to increase the income as well as decrease expenses until you are at least at break even. Once you have reached that point you can then move on to the next steps of creating a successful personal financial management plan.
At this point it is time to examine any current debt outstanding. Starting with credit cards, are you able to pay them off in full each month? If not, do you have the additional funds to do it now? Another option is to see if you can lower the interest rates on your cards. Interest rates range from almost 0% to 25% these days. And some may go higher. By dropping your rates as low as possible you can take the savings in interest payments and put it toward the principal. That helps lower the number of months it takes to eliminate your total credit card balances. And once that happens, it should be your goal to never have another credit card balance that can not be paid off each month.
Once you have taken care of credit cards, move on and look at any other debt that you might have as well. For example, are mortgage or car interest rates lower than when you took your loans out? Then a refinance may be a viable option that will allow you to either pay down more principal each month or use those funds for other investments. Why pay more in interest that you need to on any loan?
Insurance it's a subject that is so much fun to talk about. However it is necessary. Start with your home or renter's insurance and make sure that you have sufficient coverage but not more than you need it. Auto coverage should be reviewed as well. An annual check up on each of these can protect you from both too little and too much coverage.
Life insurance is a type of insurance that people spend either too little time on or too much time analyzing. Which type of insurance would work best for you depends on your age and financial circumstances. The first question you need to ask is do you even need life insurance? If you have a family and loans outstanding as well as future educational costs, it is likely that life insurance will offer you protection in the event of any future surprises. If you have no outstanding debts, no children or they are grown and on their own and you have sufficient assets for all future needs, then you may not need to get life insurance. Or you might choose a life insurance option that has investment benefits as well.