Published by Daniel Morrison, Wealth Advisor
When you hear the words “budget” or “portfolio review,” do you get excited or do you bury your head in the sand? When it comes to money, we all have different personality types. If you’re like the 4 out of 10 Americans who admit that they prefer not to even think about money, (1) you probably have a tendency to avoid your accounts altogether and just hope for the best.
No matter your personality type, you understand the anxiety that is often associated with finances. For those who find themselves in a worst-case scenario, their finances can even seem downright daunting and hopeless. To make matters more complex, just the vast amount of information to sift through to figure things out on your own is overwhelming. In fact, with all the varying opinions and complicated jargon out there, many have a hard time even figuring out where to start! We at Jacob William Advisory would like to help you sort through the clutter. To get started, we have 5 steps you can take today to get your financial house in order.
1. Get Organized
As with anything, mindset is key. If you’re not mentally prepared to fix your finances, you’re doomed to fail. The process can be mentally and physically draining. Prepare yourself for the rough road ahead by getting organized.
- Communicate With Your Family. If you have a trusted family member who is good with money, invite them to be your accountability partner. They can serve as a source of motivation and support for those times when you want to spend money on something fun but know you shouldn’t.
- Check Your Credit. When was the last time you checked your credit? For most Americans, it may be hard to remember. You’re legally entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from each credit bureau. You can request your free copies at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action.
- Keep Financial Documents Safe. Store physical documents (such as your will, trust, and deed) in a fireproof safe. Keep the safe with a trusted professional or loved one.
2. Create A Budget
A strong budget lays the groundwork for financial stability. As much as you may hate tracking expenses, knowing your inflows and outflows is the first step in reaching your financial goals.
Add up all your income and subtract your monthly expenses. If you’re living beyond your means, look for serious ways to cut down on your spending. If you spend way too much money on discretionary items like clothing, for example, give yourself a monthly allowance and stick to it.
Remember, your budget isn’t set in stone. You can always adjust your budget as you meet your financial goals. The purpose of fixing your finances is to create a better life for yourself.
3. Build An Emergency Fund & Tackle Debt
Emergency funds aren’t one-size-fits-all, and it’s best to come up with a number based on your income stability and family. A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months of expenses on hand.
Debt keeps you living paycheck-to-paycheck, which destroys your quality of life. There are several debt payoff methods out there, but two popular ones are the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. Talk to a trusted professional—such as a financial advisor or financial planner—about which method may be best for you.
4. Protect Your Assets
You’ll begin to accumulate sizable wealth as you pay off debt and save. In the event something happens to you, ensure your family is taken care of well by protecting your assets. A few ways you can protect your assets:
- Create or update your will
- Update beneficiaries
- Analyze insurance coverage
- Evaluate investments and retirement contributions
5. Meet With A Trusted Financial Advisor
Getting your finances in order can be an overwhelming process, but you don’t have to do it alone. No matter where you are in the process, a financial advisor can help you make rational decisions with your money. As an industry expert, they can also make sure you’re maximizing your wealth while minimizing your risks.
We at Jacob William Advisory are here to walk with you through every step. From getting your financial house in order to living out your years in retirement, you can count on us to be your trusted advisor. To learn more about how we can help you reach your financial goals, contact our office by calling 410-821-6724 or emailing [email protected]. Also, be sure to check out our selection of free guides found here.
Daniel Morrison is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Jacob William Advisory, a wealth management firm whose sole mission is to service their clients’ needs beyond their expectations. Dan Morrison has 27 years of industry experience, and for the past decade, he has been committed to building Jacob William Advisory into one of the foremost wealth advisory firms. Dan graduated from Towson University with a bachelor’s degree of finance in economics and obtained his master’s degree in finance from the University of Baltimore. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and holds the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL). He and his wife Beth reside outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and have three wonderful children. Dan is involved in his church and he enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and sailing. A good book is also never far from his reach. Learn more about Dan by connecting with him on LinkedIn.