How do you keep track of your financial goals? Whether you want to save money, pay off your debt or simply know where you stand each month, using a financial worksheet can help. You can create worksheets for various purposes by using spreadsheet software or downloading one online. In some cases, using more than one worksheet might be just what you need to get your financial life in order.
A budget worksheet allows you to see exactly how much income you and other members of your household bring in compared to your household expenses. You can use a worksheet, such as this one from Kiplinger, or create your own using software--or even pen and paper. On the worksheet, you should list your anticipated income and expenses each month, then track your actual income and expenses. A budget worksheet allows you to record your monthly expenses to see if you are spending more than you can afford. It also shows you where you can cut back, if needed.
Saving money can be easier if you have a way to chart your financial goals. A goals worksheet helps you list each goal and when you hope to accomplish it. Such a worksheet also pushes you to determine the necessary plans to reach that goal. The Department of Labor has created a worksheet on which you can list your short-term goals--those that you hope to achieve within five years--as well as long term goals.
A financial inventory worksheet gives you a good idea of where you stand and helps you see the financial big picture. It can also help reduce any confusion should anything happen to you. It will let your relatives know where you have accounts and what those accounts are. To make one, you should start by listing every financial account and every obligation you have, such as a mortgage, student loans or credit card debt. Also important for an inventory are the details of anyone you are working with to plan your financial future, such as your financial planner and your attorney. You can also list important documents, such as your will and its location.
Ever wonder if you are saving enough for retirement? A retirement goals and planning worksheet, such as this one from Schwab MoneyWise, takes some of the guesswork out of retirement. Use the worksheet to figure out how much money you’ll need each year in retirement based on your current income and how much you need to save to have sufficient income in retirement, based on an anticipated rate of return and how much you have set aside already.
If you are dealing with debt, making a debt reduction worksheet can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having a budget worksheet helps when you are making a debt reduction worksheet, as you can see if you have extra money to funnel towards your debt each month. To make the worksheet, list all of your debts, their amounts, the interest rate and your monthly payments. Add up the amount of your payments and compare it to the amount you have available each month. If you have money left over, you can put it towards the debt with the highest rate of interest.
Worksheets are just one way to help you sort out your financial situation. Working with a credit counselor can also help you make the most of your money and ease the pain of debt.
Image Source: Flickr
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY