How do I know if I’m on the right path? What can I do to get better?
- It’s time to take stock of your year. How much do you have saved today? How much do you have invested? How much debt are you carrying? How much were each of these in January? If you add up your savings, your investments and the value of what you own (stick to the big stuff, like your house, car and jewelry) and subtract your debt, you’ll have a good estimate of your net worth. Is it more than it was in January?
- What did you buy in 2016? Take a look at your big purchases. What were your big purchases? Were they worth it? If your net worth is less than it was a year ago, but that’s because you took a big vacation or went back to school, it might be worth it to you to take that financial step back. After all, you make money to pay for things, and a trip with the family or getting the education you always wanted are the kinds of things you remember.
- If you want to do better, dig deeper. Go through your monthly expenditures and see if you’re happy with your budget. Tighten the belt where you can. Start small and pick a few spots where you can save money every month. Then, take half of the amount you’re planning to not spend and set up an automatic payment into savings every month. Do the same for an automatic payment onto your debt. If you can find $170 to cut out of your budget every month, that’s over $1,000 you can put into a money market or savings certificate that’s earning even more money. It’s also over $1,000 off your debt, plus savings from interest payments.