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We highly recommend you take steps in organizing your finances. With organized finances, you will be able to better understand what areas you are strong in and areas that require more attention. In an effort to accomplish this, here are five steps to organize your finances:

Create a Budget – First and foremost, you will need to create a budget. Begin with a list of all your income; wages, salary, tips, dividends, alimony, royalties, rental income etc. Next, make a list of all your expenses; mortgage payments, rent, utilities, insurance, property taxes etc. Then make a list of your general living expenses; appliances, cell phone, education, furniture, vacations, groceries, gifts, pets etc. Expand on the expense list by including: savings, investments, contributions, taxes, medical expenses, transportation, employment, insurance, recreation expenses, annual expenditures, debt payments etc. Next, add up your total amount of income, total debt, and total expenditures.

Set and Keep Financial Goals – Along with a budget, organized finances consist of goals. If you want to decrease debt or save more, follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal system. Each financial goal you set should be Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Timely. What are your immediate, short-term and long-term financial goals?

 Keep Good Records – Whether you receive, electronic or paper statements, we recommend you keep this paperwork and record necessary information such as tracking balances, budgeting, categorizing etc. Should you require personal accounting software, such as Quicken or QuickBooks, you can also adjust the software to automatically download account information from your bank, credit card, retirement, and brokerage accounts.

Schedule Payments (Optional) – Put your bills on auto-pay or set aside a day or two a month in which you manually make your payments. With auto-pay, many businesses allow you to sign-up for auto-pay, which means each month your due payment is automatically deducted from the checking or credit card account you designate. This will help you avoid any late fees.

 

*The information in this newsletter should not be construed as tax, legal, or financial advice however, it is provided as a resource. Financial decisions should be made only after a careful review of your personal situation and in consultation with your tax, financial, and legal advisors.

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