I have a confession to make.
As a financial planning adviser, I’m privileged to say I have helped many people to achieve, or work towards achieving their financial goals. I love my job and I’m good at it. However, when it comes to myself it’s not so easy.
When I started making investments for myself, I realized that there is a big difference between doing this for companies and doing this for private individuals. Working with companies can be very straightforward. Accounts are normally perfectly kept, and everything is constantly maintained out of necessity. However, personal accounting can be a very different story.
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When people keep their own accounts it can be tricky to sort everything out. Perhaps their recording fell behind and is now out of date. When there are chunks of information missing, filling in the blanks takes a lot of time.
The most important thing I learned was regardless of what you know, being inefficient in your accounting will always place you at risk of making bad decisions. The bottom line is that I was successful at helping others, but I was struggling with helping myself.
You might ask: “Why should I go through all the trouble of making sure my accounts are neat and up to date?” The answer lies in three simple words: knowledge is power.
Can you afford to go in on an investment? Can you live comfortably until you see a return? Do you have enough emergency cash on hand? You can’t make the most of many opportunities that come your way if you don’t fully understand your financial situation.
Having as much information as possible is the best protection against making bad choices such as, cash out on an investment at a bad time because you urgently need funds. I once failed to make a personal investment despite implementing the same methods and strategies that I use for corporate clients. The reason is because my personal investment plan actual capital injection consistency has been “disturb” by some of my personal annual fixed expenses which I’ve forgot, so I’ve to turn the money from investment capital injection into emergency cash for the payment (in short, the money is not there to invest like what has been planed). Proper accounting allows you to make good decisions far in advance and avoid mistakes like these.
Financial security should always be a priority, but especially so during times when the economy is in poor shape. Having a plan to help you last through tough times can provide a priceless boost to your peace of mind.
Imagine driving a car down a highway at night with no lights at all. The future can be a scary thing if you don’t know what’s coming, so the priority here is to extend the limits of how far ahead you can see. What do you need to understand to make this happen?
Photo Credit: Christer Wikström https://www.flickr.com/photos/cygni/8395320573/
While many aren’t able to safely chart their financial circumstances over the next 12 months, a better level of planning can show you an outline of the next 3 years. An ideal scenario will let you map out as much as the next 5-10. If you are just starting out, get at least 3 months’ worth of financial statements and then build up your report from there.
Good, consistent personal accounting isn’t just a simple record; it’s a guide that can tell you where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going. It’s a strategy for life that you can trust to keep you and your loved ones financially safe when it matters most.
I spent years learning many lessons that were very costly. Many of the mistakes I made were easily avoidable, and I would never want for you to make them as well. Work hard on your personal accounting, and I wish you all the best for your financial future!