4 Ways to Keep Track of Your Financial Goals

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money-2180338_640Resolving to improve your financial situation is easy. Following through on your plans is the hard part. Give yourself the best chance to be one of them with these smart tactics.

Use Financial Apps

Browse your favorite app marketplace and you’ll find some great options for tracking your financial goals. If you’re working toward a specific goal, you’ll find goalGetter invaluable. Specify a financial dream, like paying off your credit card or buying a new car, and note how much money it will take to achieve it. Then whenever you make progress, add the amount into the app. You’ll stay motivated as you watch your savings approaching your goal.

If you want to improve your financial habits, then try Toshl Finance. Enter your income and purchases into the app to keep track of how your money is coming and going. Remembering what you’ve done each day is challenging, so you’ll probably find Toshl works best if you use it whenever you buy something. Using a high-quality smartphone connected to a reliable provider’s network, like a Samsung Galaxy S7 on T-Mobile, will help you do that. The app shows your spending in relation to your income at a glance; so long as you’re in the black, you know you’re building savings.

Create Financial Spreadsheets

Using spreadsheets to track your financial goals might seem fairly primitive after using apps. However, some people prefer spreadsheets, because they encourage hands-on use.

“I believe too much automation can be a curse,” personal finance writer Len Penzo explained in a blog post. “That’s because when money management tools become too user-friendly, a lot of folks have very little incentive to understand the data being made available to them. For the financially undisciplined, over time that’s a sure-fire recipe for failure.”

Spreadsheets are also highly customizable. You can create and modify fields to suit your own needs and financial goals. Many spreadsheet programs also let you add graphs so you can visualize your financial progress.

You can also create a spreadsheet to track almost any financial resolution. If you planned to stick to a budget, tracking your expenses in a spreadsheet can tell you whether you’ve achieved this goal. If investing was your aim, a spreadsheet can tell you how much you’ve put into your investment of choice. For savings goals, you can chart how much you’ve squirreled away each month to determine whether you’re saving regularly.

Audit Yourself

One of the best ways to see whether you’ve improved your finances is to play Tax Man and audit yourself regularly. When you do this, you should calculate how you fare in a number of areas to get a comprehensive picture of your financial situation.

Subtract the sum of your liabilities from the sum of your assets to find your net worth. Experts suggest this may be the most important measurement of financial success. Then determine your savings rate, which is the percentage of your income you’ve saved during the year. Your tax rate should also be considered, as this will rise as your income does.

To keep track of your performance over the year, consider auditing yourself every quarter, as many companies do.

Work With a Financial Advisor

There’s a common perception that financial advisors are only there to help people nearing retirement. Perhaps that’s why 62 percent of American adults don’t use their services. However, financial advisors will happily and effectively help people achieve their financial goals at any stage in their lives.

A financial advisor can learn about your goals, the steps you’ve taken to achieve them, and can then determine whether you’re on track. If you’re not on track, your advisor can suggest strategies to help you achieve your goals and motivate you as you work toward it.

Keep track of your financial goals, and there’s no reason you can’t end 2017 with more money and less debt than you started with.

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