“Personal finance” is a term which refers to the way you manage your money and how you plan for the future. All of your current financial decisions and activities have an impact on your financial health, both now and in years to come.
Often, we are guided by certain phrases or “rules” which have been passed through the generations, such as “don’t buy a house which costs more than 3 years salary” or “you should save 10% of your monthly income for your retirement”. Whilst many of these wisened quotes stand the test of time and truly are helpful, it is important that we take a closer look at what we should be doing in general when it comes to improving our financial health and spending habits.
Work out your net worth and personal budget
Money comes in, and then money goes out. For many, this is pretty much as far as their understanding of money and personal finance goes. Rather than ignoring your finances and chancing whether you have the money needed for your planned purchases, a bit of budgeting can help you to reevaluate your current financial health and determine how you can reach both your short and long term financial goals.
As a starting point, it is vital for you to calculate your net worth, which is the difference between what you own and owe. To do this, you need to calculate your net worth by taking note of your assets, which you own, and your liabilities, which you owe.
If you have property, or own business properties, then you should list these and you may want to discuss this with a chartered surveyors, Manchester based if you believe there may be a change in the property valuation. By tracking your net worth over time, this allows you to evaluate your successes and identify potential areas which require improvement.
Most individuals will spend more money if there is more money to spend. When people advance in their careers and go on to earn higher salaries there is often a correlating increase in terms of spending, which is something known as lifestyle inflation.
Whilst you might be able to still pay your bills, lifestyle inflation can be extremely damaging in the long run as it limits the ability to build wealth. It isn’t uncommon for people to feel the need to match the lifestyles of their peers and friends. It’s easy to overlook the fact that actually, this way of spending leads to a lot of debt as people battle to keep up.
If you own business properties, then you might want to review the rent you currently charge. Due to inflation, you may find that you are undercharging your business tenants and could potentially be making more money. You can boost your rent by carrying out a commercial rent review to reevaluate your rent charges.
Build and maintain an emergency fund
Building an emergency is what the name implies – money which is set aside for emergencies. This fund should be intended for helping you pay for things which aren’t usually involved in your personal budget and covers unexpected costs, such as car problems or dentist appointments. It can also help you to pay your regular expenses should your income is interrupted.
Whilst traditional guidelines suggest saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses within an emergency fund, but the unfortunate reality is that this amount of money would fall short when it comes to what many people would need to cover large expenses. Keep in mind that building an emergency fund is an ongoing mission and, odds are, that as soon as it is funded, you will likely need it.