Creating A Personal Finance Spreadsheet

One of the biggest challenges we face as adults is balancing a budget. Creating a personal finance spreadsheet can be one of

the most valuable steps you can take to tackling this challenge head on. Even if you start with a simple format and a few details you can be well on your way to financial organization which can lead to financial security in the long run.

There are different methods for creating a personal finance spreadsheet and the decision on which to choose depends greatly

on your personality in general. Many people like to keep record in a computer program like Excel. This is a wonderful way to

stay organized while making a sound personal financial spreadsheet that is professional grade quality.

The Excel program is great because it allows you to work from a clean template. You have control of the input and you can

cater your personal financial spreadsheet to your needs. Many of us have no idea how to use this program but it really takes

just a few minutes to master and the results are great.

You can also use a program like Quicken to create a personal finance spreadsheet. This kind of program comes highly

recommended for any individual who is serious about keeping track of all of his incoming and outgoing funds. The personal

finance spreadsheet that you can produce from a program like Quicken will put your accountant to shame.

Many of us love the idea of keeping strict records of our spending habits and we really like the idea of a sound budget.

However, we don’t like to work on the computer any more than we have to. If you spend all day at work at the monitor the last

thing you want to do is go home and work on a personal finance spreadsheet on your personal computer.

There are those of us who are just not likely to keep things up to date when using this kind of personal finance spreadsheet. These individuals may embrace more traditional, hands on approach to keeping a budget record up to date. There are many items available at office supply stores to meet the traditional needs as well.

One thing to remember when it comes to your personal finance spreadsheet; if you are in a partnership or a marriage it is

crucial to keep the lines of communication open. No personal finance spreadsheet will help you become clairvoyant. Good

Financial Services Funds For A Down Market

Buying into a financial services fund may not seem like the best idea, especially with the amount of instability in financial markets right now. But many experts and investors are saying that now is the time to invest in these kinds of funds. With prices so low, they are only going to grow from here on out as the financial climate of the nation continues to be repaired.Financial services funds are a type of mutual fund that is specifically focused on banks, lending institutions and other financial services companies. Mutual funds allow investors to get into the stock market without spending a lot of money on one type of stock. With a mutual fund, you are technically pooling your money with other parties and buying stocks as a group. The manager of the mutual fund will choose the stocks or bonds that will offer the best return for the category.Financial services funds offer a better deal than investing in financial services directly. When you use a mutual fund such as this, you get a number of different advantages. Your money is diversified across many different companies and institutions. If one financial institution has trouble, you aren’t left up a creek without a paddle. The rest of your mutual fund portfolio should balance out the hits that the individual company is taking.Another benefit of investing in the financial sector with mutual funds is that you get professional management of your funds. The financial services fund’s manager has the experience necessary to be able to determine when to buy and when to sell specific stocks and bonds. Their experience will help your money grow.Pooling your money also allows you to have more cost efficiency. If you have $5,000 to invest, you may be able to buy shares in two to three companies. However, when you invest in a mutual fund in the financial services sector, your money will be spread out far more equally. Mutual funds can contain stocks and bonds for up to 100 different companies. When you invest this way, you’ll be able to spread your money over a wide variety of companies which can act as a measure of protection.In late 2008 and early 2009, financial services funds were fairing too well. Based on the trouble with banks and lending institutions due to the stock market slumps, it’s easy to see why many people would shy away from investing in this sector. However, history shows that after a financial crisis the financial services industries have been boosted up in the following years. After the early 1990s recession, financial services funds rose 30% in 1992 giving investors a nice profit. Purchasing a financial services fund, or any fund for that matter, is not something that should be gone into lightly. Before you place your money in a fund, you should research the history of the fund, the company that runs the fund and even the fund managers. Once you evaluate this information you can figure out if investing in financial services through mutual funds will be your best bet.

The 7 Steps Of Do-it-yourself Financial Planning

You are in control

You are already your own financial planner. Regardless of the extent of help you receive from professionals, you ultimately are the decision maker and you are responsible for your own finances. Although the financial world has become increasingly complex, it is becoming easier today to do a lot of your own planning. The variety of resources has expanded such as software for money management and planning; online tools for banking, financial planning and investing, and resources, and books and blogs that are easy to understand. These resources may be good news for you if the cost of professional fee only financial planners is out-of-reach to you. Besides the cost of fees, others may avoid planners because they have heard stories of advisors trying to sell a product that didn’t fit their situation. Cost savings and avoiding product pitches are excellent benefits of being your own planner.

Everyone should take a more active role in their financial affairs. Not only does it help with educated decision making and fraud avoidance it also helps you better communicate with your other professional advisors such as your accountant and attorney. You will also find yourself spotting opportunities when they cross your path.

Becoming a better manager of your family’s finances will also help you ‘dig out’ if you are struggling financially. When you consider the low savings rates and the high household debt, many more people find themselves in this category today.

The following are 7 steps to do-it-yourself financial planning:

Step 1: Commit

The first step to financial planning always begins with commitment. Whether you are having financial difficulty, or have just avoided setting goals and mapping out a plan – commitment is the first step. Commitment provides the discipline and focus needed to help sustain you on the path towards your goals.

Step 2: Set Goals

Without specific goals and a plan to achieve them financial success stays a foggy dream. Therefore the second step is to list the dreams that will motivate you. Write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will serve as the driver, or the fire in the engine giving you the motivation to move forward. Everyone has dreams, but without constant watering and attention dreams will go dormant. Leave your past mistakes and inaction behind you, light a new fire and chart a course forward. You have an enormous amount of potential and talent, and if you have made mistakes you now have more experience and wisdom. Dare to imagine what you could achieve because your best years are ahead of you.

Step 3: Assemble and Organize Information

Get your stuff together. Planning is easier if you assemble everything in one central location. Make an organized filing system either in a cabinet, accordion file, a box, any way that works for you. Now locate and file all of your tax returns, receipts, insurance policies, contracts, wills, mortgages, deeds, titles, pay stubs, employee benefit statements, banking (loan, savings and checking), bills, investment and retirement plan statements and any other important papers.

Step 4: Manage Cash Flow

Your household is a business. You need to know how much you are earning and spending each month. Balance your checkbook and establish a budget. There are dozens of books and software to help with this, and your bank’s website may provide this as well. This will help you know when and where you are overspending.

Step 5: Self Educate

Establish a sound foundational knowledge base about financial matters. Start with books about budgeting and money savings tips, debt, basic insurance and investing. Be sure to include reading about mutual funds and financial planning. Avoid get-rich-quick, real estate, gold or innovative ‘secrets’ books. Stick to the fundamentals. I find the “For Dummies, ‘For Idiots’ and ‘D-Mystified’ book series to be very helpful for many people. Lastly, stay informed about current financial topics by reading financial magazines, newspapers, the business section of papers, and blogs.

Step 6: Create a Written Plan

A written plan serves as a road map towards your financial destination. It helps you understand where you are presently and the steps that you need to take to move forward. A financial plan is a process. Your life will change, therefore you should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. You should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. If you write your own financial plan, you will have to obtain financial planning software. Your other options are to pay to have a written financial plan completed by a fee financial planner or by an institution or professional that provides products. Be sure to find out about how the planner is compensated and what your fees will be.

Step 7: Engage Professionals

Most people can’t entirely do all of their financial planning by themselves. Assemble a team of trusted professional advisors that you can rely on to help you implement different aspects of your plan, answer your questions and be on the lookout for you. The professionals that can be the most advantageous are a proactive tax accountant and financial advisor with extensive planning, investment and insurance knowledge, an attorney qualified in estate planning, and a banker that can help with credit ratings and debt management. Before committing to anyone, get referrals for trusted professionals from people whose opinion you respect and don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions.