Gazrok's Financial Review Volume II (11/15/2016)

Today, in the second installment of Gazrok's Financial Review, I would like to discuss taking inventory of your finances. One of the most important steps to understanding your financial situation is to take a big picture approach. You need to know exactly how much money you have in your savings, checking, brokerage, retirement and other accounts as well as an accurate representation of what you owe on all of your credit cards, mortgages, car loans, school loans and other expenses. You should also include large assets such as gold, jewelry, art and automobiles. This may seem like a large task, but just get started and you'll find out it's easier than you think!

After you've gathered your balances fill out a spreadsheet like the one found HERE. Add or remove accounts as necessary which pertain to you. Remember some people will have more accounts than others so approach this exercise as a very personal experience. *IMPORTANT* Be honest with yourself and do not leave anything out when you gather this information together. Sometimes it's difficult to stare your debt in the face, but you must first confront it before you can defeat it. More importantly if you put your loans on the back burner and pretend they don't exist they will rack up late fees and interest charges which make things worse for you in the long run.

Now that you have created an inventory continue to explore ways to let technology be your financial friend! If you have a smartphone download the very popular MINT app (iPhone/Android). This app allows you to input all of your actual bank accounts into one powerful and easy to use interface which afterwards displays a summary of your net worth. It will also keep track of all transactions you make on all the accounts you enter and provide a continually updated summary. Fair warning that it requires you to enter account information including passwords but rest assured it is completely safe and run by a very reputable company who is in the financial sector themselves.

Take the rest of this week to manage and edit your spreadsheet or MINT summary and add accounts as you remember them. Next week we will discuss budgeting and some basic ways to start paying off your debt.