By Nikki Ducas
Whether you are in charge of your family’s finances or don’t have a clue, there’s no better time than the present to get your monetary worth in order and create a financial snapshot. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that all your savings, net worth, debt and budgeted items are in one secure location.
I’ve been lucky to have a spouse that takes care of our assets, and I haven’t had to worry too much about our finances. Maybe I am naïve, but in our 16 years of marriage, it never crossed my mind to have a financial snapshot. Then COVID-19 reared its ugly head and with it came economic uncertainty and potential health risks. It was time, and after an hour-and-a-half, we created our financial snapshot. It’s a relief knowing that everything is listed in one place and I must admit I am a lot more stress free.
How did we do it? We followed a simple financial snapshot template that offered suggestions for where to plug expenses in, and then we tweaked it for our current circumstances. For example, you may need to track student loans and mortgage payments, but we don’t need to.
Log Into Financial Accounts
If you don’t have access, take a few minutes to set up usernames and passwords. (Note: keep passwords in a secure place. See below.) Be sure to track investments, mutual funds, 529 college savings and all banking information. Fill in the template with pertinent account information and the balance of each account. Add in a notes section if you have auto-deductions with the amount or when to mail payments. It may also be prudent to include passwords and contact information.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Do you have homeowner’s, flood, car and life insurance? Fill in coverage/policy information and monthly costs. Include the physical location of the policy and contact information for claims.
Look at recurring bills. Know the bill/debt, company/credit card name, if it is on auto pay, how often it’s paid, and total balance owed and/or monthly fee.
Note: We put all our information in a spreadsheet and password protected it on our computer. Even though we back up our computer using Carbonite, I still put the document on a jump drive and tuck it away in a secure location.
You’ll want to revisit your financial snapshot every year to make sure your insurance coverage is still meeting your needs and investments are still working to your benefit. Another positive that came out of this exercise was that we charted how much money we could realistically live on if the economy tanked. No one likes to talk about budgets, but it’s good to be on the same financial page as your spouse.
Having your net worth and your budget in one place provides peace of mind not only for you but also your family members in the event you need them to access your finances.