Healthy Finances

An Annual Wellness Exam That Can Actually Save You Money

October 26, 2017
By Dan L. DeMarest, CFP®, CRPC
Vice President

It's that time of year again, when many of us scramble to schedule an annual wellness exam before the insurance calendar year is up. But if you're taking the time to analyze your physical health, shouldn’t you do something similar with your financial health?

If you feel like your personal finances are out of shape, it’s time to assess the situation, redefine your goals and get the help you need. Here are a few steps to test — and improve — your financial fitness:

1. Make an honest assessment of the past.

The first step to getting healthy, whether it’s with your physical health or your financial one, is to assess where you currently are. It’s important to understand how you got there, what was within your control, what wasn’t, and what you currently have to work with. In banking terms, you need to know the approximate value of your assets — bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, real estate, business interests — as well as the amounts you currently owe to others. Your obligations might include the outstanding balances on mortgages, credit cards or car loans. Your “net worth” is the difference between the value of your assets and your outstanding debts.

This is where you start.

2. look ahead to the future.

Now that you know where you are, it’s time to look at where you want — and need — to be. Scrutinize your investments. Perhaps you participate in a 401(k), an individual retirement account (IRA), or another retirement plan that allows you to select investments for your account. You may own mutual funds, individual stocks and/or bonds, or investment real estate. If you’ve been focusing on just part of the picture — your stocks or stock funds, for example — but haven’t looked at whether your investments as a whole reflect your risk tolerance and investment timeframe, now may be a good time to do an overall review of your situation.

Establish some financial priorities by reflecting upon what you would like to accomplish financially and when. Be as realistic in your thinking as possible. Although choices are difficult to make, they are usually an unavoidable part of the planning process.

3. be ready to Put in some sweat equity.

Just like it’s much easier to splurge on a high-calorie meal than to burn it off, saving money is hard work. It takes preparation, motivation, and constant reminders of your goals and how you’ll feel when you accomplish them. You can make this process easier by planning ahead. Saving money on taxes is easier when you have a plan in place all year long. Setting a year-long budget gives you long-term expectations. Put in the work each day, and make sure to celebrate your achievements once in a while to remind you how much it’s worth it.

4. Get a (financial) personal trainer.

Financial health is possible with hard work and healthy advice. If you’re not quite ready to flex your financial muscles on your own, schedule an appointment with a Wealth Management advisor at Security National Bank who can teach you how to exercise caution while strengthening your financial core.

Ready to get moving?