Money Matters:  Financial Independence

BUDGETING FOR THE FUTURE: TAKING INVENTORY

By Christopher F. Cave, Financial Advisor

The ultimate goal of financial planning is to ensure that there are funds available for you and your family to enjoy the best quality of life possible in the present and in the future. A divorce complicates this process by changing the original financial structure of the family. Incomes become altered, and therefore, new budgets must be created in order to achieve financial goals such as retirement or a child's education. Once the dust has settled, the first financial step in this process is to take inventory.

Before you can start to plan for the future it is very important to know where you are in the present. 

Use the following worksheet to find your net worth:

Assets as of (Date) Liabilities as of (Date)
Cash    Rent/Monthly Mortgage  
Cash on Hand   Utilities  
Checking Accts. Balance   Balance Due On:  
Savings Accts. Balance   Mortgage  
Money Mkt. Balance   Auto Loan(s)  
Life Insurance, Cash Value   Personal Loan(s)  
Retirement Funds   Installment Loan(s)  
IRA or Keogh   Unpaid Bills:  
401(k) Plan   Charge Accts.  
Vested $ in Pension   Property Taxes  
Vested $ in Profit Sharing Plan   Qtrly. Income Taxes  
Investments   Ins. Premiums  
Market Value of Stocks   Total Liabilities  
Market Value of Bonds      
Market Value of Mutual Funds, etc.      
U.S. Saving Bonds
Annuities
     
       
Property      
Real Property Mkt. Value minus Mortgage      
Automobile      
Furniture      
Jewelry, Furs      
Sports and Hobby Equipment      
Equity Interest in your Business      
Total Assets      
     Assets   
     Minus Liabilities  
     Your Net Worth  

This number is your starting point and the first step towards reaching your financial goals. For many people the number at the end of this worksheet may be negative. 

Don't panic! The important thing to realize is that you can take the necessary steps to improve your net worth. You may think of them as "baby steps," but like a child, you need to start with baby steps in order to learn how to run. 

These steps will be outlined in other articles, and you will be off to your financial future, and arrive running.


Bio and more articles by Christopher F. Cave, Financial Advisor