Don’t Forget to Include These Expenses in Your Budget

You are doing better than most people if you even have a household budget! But, it is very likely that no matter how much you tried to think of everything when making your budget, there still are a few things that you didn’t think about.  They say that it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine and this is especially true with personal financial matters.

Here are six things you should remember to include when creating your budget:

1. Pet-related expenses. Food, boarding, health care, toys, grooming fees, bedding, and any other supplies you feel your pet needs to be happy and comfortable can sometimes sneak up on you and play havoc with your budget.  If you have a pet, or pets, be sure to include them in your planning..

2. Big ticket items. Are you thinking about buying a new car?  Planning a vacation? Will you need a new washing machine in the near future? These are some of the items that often slip our minds when we are making financial plans. Remember to plan for and include these expenses in your budget projections.

3. Non-monthly bills. Most of our bills are paid monthly, and budgets are usually set up on the same schedule. However, some bills aren’t on a monthly basis. Depending on where you live, the water and trash bills might be quarterly.

  • Automobile registration is an annual bill. This is a small amount in many states, but it can be a very large bill in others. Set aside a little each month if the expense is considerable.
  • Property taxes often are built into your monthly mortgage payment, but this isn’t always the case. If you don’t have a mortgage, it certainly isn’t the case. Plan ahead.
  • Insurance premiums are often paid annually or quarterly. Remember to budget for these.
  • Subscriptions and memberships are other non-monthly bills. These can include such things as gym memberships, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, and warehouse club membership fees.
  • Home and car maintenance and repair costs can vary from year to year. It’s easy to plan for oil changes and furnace filters. But how is your roof looking? What about the tires on your car? These possible expenses can also be budgeted for if you remember them.
  • Eye examinations, dental checkups, and annual trips to the doctor are other expenses that many of us forget when creating a budget. If you need a new pair of orthotics each year, include them, too. Consider your regular medical expenses and accommodate for them within your budget.

4. Clothing. Think about your clothing costs over the course of a year and include a line item in your budget. Do you have any special occasions coming up this year? Perhaps a wedding or other formal event that will require special financial consideration? Everyone needs to buy clothes on occasion.
5. Gifts. Christmas and birthdays have a way of sneaking up on us.  Christmas can be a major expense, depending on your traditions and the size of your family.   It might be a good idea to start saving, and maybe even shopping, in January.

6. School-related expenses. School supplies, field trip fees, school lunches, physicals for sports, and numerous other expenses can add up over the school year.

As much as possible, it is important to account for everything in your budget. A household budget will not be very effective if very many of your expenses are not included. Many financial expenditures are routinely forgotten when a budget is being made. Go over your bills from last year and try to ensure you’re including everything relevant.

What other things can you think of that might be forgotten when planning a budget?  Share them with us in the comments section  below.

How to Determine Your Financial Health In 7 Easy Steps

Most of us get regular checkups from our dentists and doctors. We know that even cars and pianos require regular tune-ups. It is easy for us to fail to do the same for our financial health, however. We either don’t think about it or choose to avoid it.

Of course, we could go to a financial expert for an analysis of our finances,  but most of us are entirely capable of measuring our own financial health.

In order to determine the financial health of a company it is necessary to look at several things. The same is true for our personal financial health.

Here are seven steps to use in giving yourself a financial check-up:

1. Determine your net worth. Add up all of your assets, then add up all of your liabilities.  Your net worth is the number you get when you subtract your total liabilities from your total assets.

  • If you are wondering what to include as assets, the primary examples are cash and other securities, the current market value of your personal property, and the equity in your home.
  • Your liabilities include essentially all of your debt. It’s the balance on your credit cards, automobile loans, mortgage, student loans, and any other money you owe.
  • Note that a high net worth isn’t everything. You could have a painting worth $1 million on your wall, but still be struggling to pay your bills. Your cash flow is important, too.

2. Determine your cash flow. How much money are you spending each month compared to the amount you’re receiving.

  • Add up your household income and subtract your spending. Exclude any amounts you’re saving or investing.
  • A positive cash flow, more coming in than going out, provides financial breathing room and psychological comfort. A negative cash flow, more going out than coming in, suggests you’re getting deeper into debt each month.

3. What is your savings rate? Divide your monthly savings by your income. Include any contributions to your retirement accounts, too. Most financial experts recommend a 15% savings rate. Obviously, a greater number will result in more savings.

  • If your saving rate is less than 15%, try to save more. Just  a 1-2% increase each month will soon result in a healthy savings rate.

4. Do you have the insurance you need? Different situations require different types of insurance. Asking yourself a few “what if” questions will help determine the types of insurance you need.  What if this happens?  What if that happens?

  • Protecting your home, health, income, and valuable assets are reasonable places to start.

5. Is your emergency fund adequate? Could you make it if you lost your job? Do you have enough to cover a major car repair, or any of life’s other unpleasant surprises? Most experts recommend an emergency fund equivalent to 3-6 months of living expenses. That might seem like an impossibility, but you can chip away at it a little at a time.

6. Do you expect to have what you will need at retirement? There are plenty of calculators that will enable you to extrapolate the value of your nest egg well into the future.

  • Are you on schedule to have adequate financial resources when you retire?

7. Are you prepared for major expenses in the future? If you know your car is nearing the end of its lifespan or major educational expenses are coming, are you in the position to handle them?

Your answers to these questions will reveal the health of your financial situation. We all need to pay close attention to our financial health. Putting a priority on your finances will result in choices that enhance your financial well-being.

Do you have questions about how to evaluate your financial health?  Are you finding these points helpful?  Put your questions or thoughts in the comments below.

10 Earn From Home Sources of Extra Income

Do you have some extra time to kill and need another source of income? There are several ways to generate a secondary source of income without leaving the comfort of your own home. It’s surprising how many home employment opportunities exist. Anyone with a few hours to spare can earn extra money.

Check out these ways to stay at home and earn money in your free time:

1. Freelancing. With the capabilities of the internet and associated technologies, working from home is a snap. Whether your talent is writing, graphics, building websites, or voiceover work, there’s no end to the amount of work available for a freelancer.

  • No matter what your skills might be, there’s someone out there looking for you. Check out one of the many freelance websites to get started.

2. Telemarketing. Any place with a telephone is suitable for your telemarketing headquarters. It’s a job that few enjoy, so there are usually employers looking for callers. If you have a pleasant voice and can deal with rejection, telemarketing can be an easy and flexible way to earn some money.

3. Grow and sell vegetables. Okay, you might have to leave home to do this. On the other hand, you might be able to convince someone else to sell them for you at the local farmer’s market. Seeds are very inexpensive. Mother Nature will take care of the rest, minus weeding.

4. Make scrapbooks. Not everyone has the skill to make a custom scrapbook. Create scrapbooks for those who are unable or unwilling to do it themselves. A few supplies are all you need to get started.

  • Begin with offering your scrapbooking service to family, friends, and neighbors. You might be able to generate enough referrals to stay busy without additional advertising.

5. Data Entry. Most jobs pay for each entry rather than by the hour. It’s a great job if you have a few spare minutes here and there. It’s super flexible and can work around any schedule. With focus and fast fingers, you can generate a reasonable income.

6. Tutoring. Part-time tutors can make $30 or more per hour. You might have to brush up on your geometry or Latin, but tutoring can be a lucrative way to spend your free time.

7. Translate. Are you skilled in a second language? There are many opportunities to translate conversations and documents. While certifications are required to translate for large companies and government agencies, they’re totally unnecessary for translating a love letter or a conversation on Skype.

8. Rent out a room. If you have the space to spare, rent out a room. A good roommate can be a blessing and help you cover the bills. It might help your social life, too.

9. Host a party. There are parties for Tupperware, candles, and numerous other types of products. While these parties are typically held in the homes of others, host the parties yourself.

  • You could also allow your friends to use your home as a party location, and then keep a percentage of the profits.

10. Sell ad space on a personal blog. Create a blog and then sell ads on your website. You can sell the ad space directly or sign up with Google Adsense. With Google, they’ll post relevant ads for you, and you’ll receive money whenever someone clicks on the ad.

Whether you’re in financial pain or just need an activity to fill your spare time, a secondary or part-time source of income could be the solution. Someone almost certainly has a need that fits your skill set perfectly. Find them and provide your services. It might be the most enjoyable money you’ll ever earn.

6 Effective Options for Consolidating Your Debt

Many consumers have a variety of debt. All the payments and different due dates are enough to drive anyone crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice to address all of your consumer debt with one, simple, monthly payment? There are many options for consolidating your debt into a single loan and eliminating some of the stress from your life.

Examine these debt consolidation options that may be available to you:

1. Credit card consolidation. You’ve seen the offers for 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for the next year or two. These can be an effective way to transfer all of your debt to a single card and avoid interest payments for a while.

  • For balances that are unable to be transferred, the credit card could be used to pay off the debt.
  • Read the small print. Even a single late payment can cause the interest to kick in. In most cases, the interest is actually accumulating from day one. You only have to pay it if you miss a payment. One missed payment can send your whole plan down the tubes.
  • It’s important to be diligent and ensure all payments are made on time every month.

2. Life insurance loan. If you have a life insurance policy with cash value, you may be able to borrow against the value of the policy. The loan doesn’t even have to be paid back. But it will reduce the amount your beneficiaries receive.

3. Personal loans. If you have a friend or family member with the financial means to help, you might be able to get a personal loan. If your credit is poor, this might be the only option available to you. However, realize that your relationship could be at risk.

  • A legal document spelling out the terms of the loan can put the lender’s mind at ease.

4. Student loans. Your credit card limit might not accommodate a student loan, but there’s an entire market for student loan consolidation. Since the government guarantees the loan, these loans are easy to get.

  • You can consolidate multiple student loans into a single loan and payment. It’s even possible to have the payback period extended.

5. Home equity loans. If you secured a great deal on your home or have been making payments for a few years, you have equity in your home that can be used to pay off your other debts. The interest rates are usually quite low because your home is serving as collateral.

  • Home equity loans can be a convenient and reasonable way to pay off higher-interest debt. However, you’re also putting your home at risk should you get behind on your payments.
  • It’s also possible to refinance your home and get cash at closing. There are closing costs to consider, but it’s very similar to having a home equity loan. Refinancing will permit you to pay back that cash over the lifetime of the mortgage.

6. Retirement plan loans. Many retirement plans permit the account owner to borrow funds for specific periods of time. You’ll be charged a small amount of interest. The interest payments go into your account, too!

  • There isn’t a credit check, but you’ll be charged an early withdrawal penalty and taxes on any funds you fail to pay back.

If you have too many debts to manage, debt consolidation might be a good option for you. Debt consolidation is an effective way to deal with high-interest debt by lowering or eliminating the interest altogether. Debt consolidation is another tool to keep available in your financial tool belt.

7 Habits for Successful Saving

Are you a good saver? Few of us save enough money to maintain a reasonable level of financial security. Many seniors are forced to work well into their golden years. Adopting effective habits can make saving money considerably easier. A few small changes might be all you need to have a financially abundant future.

Saving is a slow process and can require many years to see impressive results. However, your habits dramatically influence your results over time.

Become a successful saver by implementing these habits:

1. Savers pay themselves first. Our instincts can steer us in unproductive directions. Many of us feel compelled to pay all of our bills first before saving. It’s nice to be out from under the mental burden of bills and other financial obligations. But there’s rarely anything left at the end of the month to put into savings.

  • Make a habit of saving a percentage of every dollar you earn or receive. Start with 2% if that’s all you can afford, but make an effort to increase the amount in the future. Avoid spending this money on anything else!

2. Savers save automatically. It’s much easier and more effective to simply have the money removed from your paycheck before you have the opportunity to spend it.

  • Most employers are willing to split your paycheck and send a portion to a separate account. This might be the easiest way to save.

3. Savers keep their spending in check. The less you spend, the easier it is to save. Go through your spending over the last month and determine if all your money was well spent. If it wasn’t, carefully monitor your spending next month. Think about how much your spending is costing you.

  • It’s reasonable to expect an annual return of 10% on your long-term investments. Every $100 spent today would be worth nearly $750 in 20 years if it had been invested. Spending $100 when you were 20 years old cost you nearly $8,850 at 65 years of age.
  • Shop with a list. We’ve all gone to the store for a couple of small things and come home with far more. Make a list of what you need and stick to it.

4. Savers avoid debt. Trying to save while in debt is like walking up a hill and never getting to the top. Consumer debt is an obstacle to achieving any financial goal. If you’re unable to pay cash, you simply can’t afford it.

  • Unless it’s for something very important that needs to be paid for immediately in an emergency situation, avoid accumulating any unnecessary debt.

5. Savers have goals. Saving is easier if you have a clear picture of the reason. The objective of a comfortable retirement or sending your child to an Ivy League school can help maintain your focus.

6. Savers take regular measurements. You’ll find that most savers are very aware of how much money is in their accounts and how much they’ve saved and spent. They’re on top of their income and expenses.

7. Savers are financially responsible in general. They pay their bills on time. They know how much debt they’re carrying. They have an emergency fund for the future. Do you know anyone that saves well, and the rest of their finances are a mess? Take responsibility for all aspects of your financial life.

It’s possible to save enough money to secure your future and retirement. Having more effective habits will enhance your results. With a few minor adjustments, you can watch your savings grow. Our lives are the result of our habits. Create habits that support your financial well-being.

9 Financial Goals to Aim For in Your 20s

Getting off on the right financial foot in your 20’s can pave the way to greater financial wealth later in life. Instead of making positive inroads to financial independence, many young adults create negative financial situations that can take many years to resolve. A few wise moves in your 20’s can pay off down the road.

See if you can accomplish these goals before your 30th birthday:

1. Have financial goals. Having financial goals is an effective first step to reaching financial independence. A person’s bank account may demonstrate whether or not they have set any financial goals.

  • Set some long and short term money goals. Then, track your progress toward meeting them.

2. Acquire all the insurance you need. In our 20’s, many of us still live like we’re in college. But it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Protect your belongings, health, and income.

3. Establish an emergency fund. Too many people live paycheck to paycheck. An emergency fund will allow you to handle those inevitable financial bumps in the road. Whether it’s the loss of a job or a blown transmission, you’ll be able to handle it. The ultimate goal is to accumulate six months of living expenses, but even a few thousand dollars is helpful.

  • A simple savings account is an effective way to get started. Set aside a little from each paycheck and you’ll eventually have a nice little nest egg.

4. Max out your IRA. The contribution limits are $5,500 in 2015 for both Traditional and Roth IRAs. This might be a stretch when you’re 22 years old, but you can pull it off if you make this goal a priority.

5. Contribute enough to receive full benefits on any employer-matched retirement accounts. For most businesses, that will mean a 401(k). Any matched contributions you receive are equivalent to free money.

6. Create a second source of income. Find another source of income that provides at least $500 a month. It’s a great cushion against any unforeseen expenses. It can also be useful for building your emergency fund or adding additional funds to your retirement account.

  • There are plenty of freelance opportunities available online that can easily provide $500 or more per month and are flexible enough to accommodate any schedule.

8. Become a homeowner. It’s debatable whether renting or buying a home is better in the long run. But, having a place to call your own has many advantages. Most importantly, you’ll build equity over time. Home ownership is a form of forced savings.

  • Once you’ve settled in and expect to be in one place for a few years, give home ownership careful consideration.

9. Be free of student loan and credit card debt. Most student loan payback periods are 10 years. It can be even longer if you choose to consolidate. Try to be free of your student loan debt before your 30th birthday. The same goes for credit card debt.

  • Avoid creating unnecessary debt. It’s like running against a wind that won’t stop blowing.

Accomplishing as many of these goals as possible will help to ensure that your middle age is free of financial struggles. A strong financial foundation created in your 20’s can pay off for the rest of your life. Strive to achieve these goals and formulate your own. Planning and self-restraint are useful to your financial well-being.

8 Steps to Becoming a Top Earner in Your Field

In most fields, whether medicine, law, business, consulting, or accounting, there are a select few that make far more money than the rest. There are steps you can take to become a top earner in your field of employment. Is it luck? Do you need to be extremely charismatic? Do you require some special talent? No, no, and no.

Consistently being a little bit better than your peers and focusing on success is all that’s required.

Separate yourself from the rest in these ways:

1. Have a goal. Achieving exceptional results requires a goal or luck. Luck is uncontrollable, so focus on creating a goal instead. Have a specific goal in mind that includes a specific dollar amount and deadline. Wanting “a lot of money” isn’t an effective goal.

2. Keep money in mind when making decisions. When choosing a career, consider the earning potential. A personal trainer could choose to focus on bodybuilders or high school athletes. One that works with famous actors, executives, or professional athletes has far more opportunities to earn a large income.

3. Find a mentor. A suitable mentor is someone that has accomplished what you wish to accomplish. It would also be advantageous if they had a genuine interest in providing guidance and advice.

  • Following in the footsteps of someone that’s already successful can save a lot of time.

4. Spend time with those with similar goals. There are others with the same goals and aspirations as you. Seek them out and become friends. Find those that are already successful at the level you hope to attain. You’ll learn things you’re unlikely to learn from your current crowd.

5. Seek to enhance your performance each day. There are a few fields where the participants regularly attempt to enhance their performance. Musicians, artists, and athletes regularly spend time getting better at their craft.

  • How often have you seen a lawyer or a manager set aside time to boost their skills? Rarely, if ever.
  • If no one else is striving to become more skillful, how much competition do you have?

6. Increase your knowledge each day. Gaining more knowledge will allow you to apply your skills more effectively.

  • Thirty minutes each day is enough to get ahead. Spend this time reading books or researching your field online to seek a higher level of understanding.

7. Get used to being uncomfortable. As you stretch yourself to think and do new things, you’re going to feel that uncomfortable twinge we’ve all felt. It’s just a physical sensation, like a sore toe or a hand that’s fallen asleep. There’s no reason to let it control your thoughts and actions.

  • Why would you quit because of a slight queasy feeling in your stomach? Your subconscious knows which buttons to push to encourage you to quit. Avoid giving in.

8. Persevere. If there’s one trait found in all top earners, it’s perseverance. It’s not difficult to be incredibly successful if you’ll keep getting better and refuse to quit. In fact, it’s just about impossible to fail. Some days are more promising than others, but great days are on the way.

Becoming a top earner is well within your reach. Have a goal and keep it in the front of your mind. Find a successful mentor. Continue to learn and increase your skills and knowledge. Persevere until your goal of becoming a top earner has been reached.

Did You Forget to Include These Expenses in Your Budget

If you have a household budget, you’re doing better than most! No matter how thorough we attempt to be when constructing a budget, there are usually a few things that escape our minds. It’s the little surprises that can ruin well-laid plans. This is especially true with personal financial matters.

Remember to consider these areas when creating your budget:

1. Pet-related expenses. This category includes food, boarding, health care, toys, grooming fees, bedding, and any other supplies you feel your pet needs to be happy and comfortable.

2. Big ticket items. Is there a new car, vacation, or new washing machine in your near future? These items often slip our minds when making financial plans. Plan for and include these expenses in your budget projections.

3. Non-monthly bills. Since most bills are paid monthly, budgets are set up on the same schedule. However, some bills aren’t paid twelve times a year. Depending on where you live, the water and trash bills might be quarterly.

  • Automobile registration is an annual bill. This is a small amount in many states, but it can be a very large bill in others. Set aside a little each month if the expense is considerable.
  • Property taxes can be built into your monthly mortgage payment, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re no longer carrying a mortgage, it certainly isn’t the case. Plan ahead.
  • Insurance premiums are often paid annually or quarterly. Remember to budget for these.
  • Subscriptions and memberships are another non-monthly bill. These can include gym memberships, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, and warehouse club membership fees.
  • Home and car maintenance and repair costs can vary from year to year. It’s easy to plan for oil changes and furnace filters. But how is your roof looking? What about the tires on your car? These possible expenses can also be budgeted for if you remember them.
  • Eye examinations, dental checkups, and annual trips to the doctor are other expenses that many of us forget when creating a budget. If you need a new pair of orthotics each year, include them, too. Consider your regular medical expenses and accommodate for them within your budget.

4. Clothing. Think about your clothing costs over the course of a year and include a line item in your budget. Do you have any special occasions this year? Perhaps a wedding or other formal event will require special financial consideration. Everyone needs to buy clothes on occasion.

5. Gifts. Christmas and birthdays have a way of sneaking up on us. It might be a good idea to start saving, and maybe even shopping, in January. Christmas can be a major expense, depending on your traditions and the size of your family.

6. School-related expenses. School supplies, field trip fees, school lunches, physicals for sports, and numerous other expenses can add up over the school year.

It’s important to account for everything in your budget. A household budget isn’t very effective if many of your expenses are excluded. There are many financial expenditures that are routinely forgotten when a budget is constructed. Go over your bills from last year and ensure you’re including everything relevant.

8 Ways to Stop Fighting Over Money

Disagreements over finances are commonly cited as the primary cause of divorce. Even the kids can get in on the argument when it comes to clothes, video games, and toys. Avoiding money-related fights can enhance the level of harmony within the home.

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to minimize the disagreements.

1. Discover how to get a handle on financial disputes in the home:

2. Understand your attitudes regarding money. It’s possible you grew up in a wealthy home, and your spouse didn’t. You might value saving over spending, and your spouse is the exact opposite. If your wife grew up wearing the clothes her older sister outgrew, she might place a high priority on buying new clothes regularly.

  • Your husband might value having a brand new car because his family could only afford cars that were over 10 years old.
  • Understanding your differing views can help you find middle ground regarding finances. Those new clothes or car might mean more to your spouse than you realize.

3. Include everyone in the budgeting process. There aren’t many of us that enjoy being told what to do. Creating, imposing, and enforcing a budget without input or explanation inevitably causes animosity.

  • Have a meeting with the entire family and go over the budget. Provide an opportunity for everyone to give their opinion and ask questions. Everyone will be more likely to stick to the budget if they’re involved in the process.

4. Discuss major purchases with your spouse. Coming home with a pair of $50 shoes is one thing. Towing a new boat home without a discussion is an entirely different situation.

  • Have an agreement that all major purchases will be discussed beforehand.
  • Minimizing surprises helps to keep the peace.

5. Schedule regular family budget meetings. A 10-minute meeting once a week should be sufficient. Go over the spending for the week and compare it with your current budget plan.

  • Discuss how the spending is matching up with the plan. Any corrections or adjustments can also be addressed.
    • It can also be a convenient time to see if anyone has any unbudgeted expenses coming up.

6. Give everyone an allowance, including you. Many financial disputes come down to someone feeling a lack of freedom or control. Providing everyone in the household a few dollars to spend any way they desire can be helpful.

  • Having to get permission before every little purchase can create resentment.

7. Have some common financial goals. Everyone in the house is likely to be more agreeable to a reduction in spending if it’s being done to reach a desirable goal, such as a vacation. Saving for a dream house, retirement, or college can put everyone on the same page. Set, pursue, and achieve goals together.

8. Think before you speak. If your spouse has run up the credit card again, take some time to get your emotions under control. Share your displeasure with them, but leave your emotions out of it.

  • If you focus on the behavior rather than the person, you’re less likely to make someone defensive.

Fighting over money is a common occurrence. With patience and understanding, most arguments over finances can become a thing of the past. Include the whole family in the budgeting process and review the family’s spending on a regular basis. Your family will thank you for it.

How is Your Financial Health?

You probably get regular checkups from your dentist and doctor. Even cars and pianos require regular tune-ups. Most individuals fail to do the same for their financial health. While there are experts that can analyze your finances, most of us are entirely capable of measuring our own financial health. However, we either don’t think about it or choose to avoid it.

Determining the financial health of a company requires looking at several things. The same is true for your personal finances.

Follow these steps and give yourself a financial check-up:

1. Determine your net worth. Your net worth is the number you’re left with after subtracting your debt from your assetsThe primary examples of assets are cash and other securities, the current market value of your personal property, and the equity in your home.Essentially all of your debt is your liability.

  • It’s the balance remaining on your credit cards, automobile loan, mortgage, and student loans. Any other money you owe would be included.
  • Note that a high net worth isn’t everything. You could have a painting worth $1 million on your wall, but still be struggling to pay your bills. Your cash flow is important, too.

2. Determine your cash flow. Consider how much money you’re spending each month compared to the amount you’re receiving.

  • Tally your household income and subtract your spending. Exclude any amounts you’re saving or investing.
  • A larger, positive cash flow provides financial breathing room and psychological comfort. A negative cash flow suggests you’re getting deeper into debt each month.

3. What is your savings rate? Divide your monthly savings by your income. Include any contributions to your retirement accounts, too. Most financial experts recommend a 15% savings rate. Obviously, a greater number will result in more savings.

  • If you’re saving less than 15%, strive to save more. Increasing it by just 1-2% each month will result in a healthy savings rate in short order.

4. Do you have the necessary insurance? Different situations require different types of insurance. Asking yourself a few questions will help determine the types of insurance you need. If you ask yourself all the “what if” questions, you’ll have the necessary answers.

  • Protecting your home, health, income, and valuable assets are reasonable places to start.

5. How much is in your emergency fund? Could you weather the loss of a job, a major car repair, or any of life’s other unpleasant surprises? Experts recommend an emergency fund equivalent to 3-6 months of living expenses. That might seem like a tall order, but you can chip away at it a little at a time.

6. How much do you expect to have at retirement? There are plenty of calculators that will enable you to extrapolate the value of your nest egg well into the future.

  • Are you on schedule to retire with adequate financial resources?

7. Are you prepared for major expenses in the future? If you know your car is nearing the end of its lifespan or major educational expenses are coming, are you in the position to handle them?

Your answers to these questions will reveal the health of your financial situation. Pay close attention to your financial health. Putting a priority on your finances will result in choices that enhance your financial well-being.