Financial Wellbeing – Navigating a Debt Driven Society!

Everyone seems to manage their financial wellbeing (or lack thereof) in many different ways. Some remained organized through line item accounting records in their checkbook registrar. Others have decided to be 100% IT savvy and leverage nifty software to track theirs. And last but not least you have those that simply go with the flow and hope they make more than they spend! Well this blog posting offers only my words of wisdom and a couple nifty tools for those brave enough to test them out.  As you all know by now, there is no silver bullet to be offered, however, what follows could work for you and reduce your financial headaches.

As a younger adult beginning my college career, I rarely thought about financials or the impacts that they would have on my life post graduation. So I did like most and racked up some student loans and didn’t think much of it.  Sadly, I am not alone and many people have also been passive at that stage in their life and piled on the debt. Really as younger adults we should be better informed as to what type of ramifications this will have.

When I graduated and began working in the Real World, I quickly found out that managing your financials was a bit more tricky that you think and it pays to be proactive. After learning from my mistakes over the years following, I developed my own financial management system. It was really pretty straight forward and made a lot of sense. I will say however, that making financial decisions is always a tradeoff between now and later.

We are only young once right? That said, some of you may feel the need to splurge on some nice material things or take a fun vacation and satisfy the now, but just be mindful that these things do come at a cost if your choosing to finance them. I think the enemy of most can be their own impulses and the convenience of credit cards.  While plastic can be very intriguing and if done right, a person can earn great reward points and cash back, but if you don’t zero out that balance at month end you can get hit with that dreaded Interest Expense, Ouch!

So what is the right balance? Well if you are able to understand your 1) income, 2) bills, 3) debt and 4) savings, you will have the information you need to manage your financials.  It is my hope that you can leverage the financial spreadsheet template that I have developed to empower you to more easily manage your money and to make better decisions. This document is meant to be reviewed and updated monthly so you can tell how you are doing and make better informed decisions.  Additionally, there is a tab added to track your financial goals which can be a real motivator for sustainable change.

If your truly interested in giving this tool a shot, please just email me at MarathonJake@gmail.com and I will gladly send you a copy of the template. From there you can tweak it to fit your needs.  Below are some of the screenshots that I have taken to give you an idea of how simple it is to use; the comments will help guide you through inserting the correct data in the fields.

Bill Payments:

Here is where you can easily track your fixed and variable monthly bills.  Super easy to use and the bottom cash flow will show you how much money you have each month to make decisions with (i.e. pay down debt, put in savings or spend on something nice!)

Here is where you can easily track your fixed and variable monthly bills. Super easy to use and the bottom cash flow will show you how much money you have each month to make decisions with (i.e. pay down debt, put in savings or spend on something nice!)

Income:

Capture your monthly income in this tab of the spreadsheet so you know the amount of money you have to cover your monthly expenses.

Capture your monthly income in this tab of the spreadsheet so you know the amount of money you have to cover your monthly expenses.

Debt Management:

Manage and track your debts (short, medium, long and really long term debt) easily with this tab.  See how much money you are loosing in Interest Expense each month by carrying debt. Review your interest rates and work to eliminate your high interest loans first!

Manage and track your debts (short, medium, long and really long term debt) easily with this tab. See how much money you are loosing in Interest Expense each month by carrying debt. Review your interest rates and work to eliminate your high interest loans first!

Savings:

Track how well you're saving for your future whether it be regular savings, retirement or health savings.

Track how well you’re saving for your future whether it be regular savings, education, retirement or health savings.

Goal Setting:

Its never to set late to set your financial goals for the year. Be sure to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and set monthly reminders to track your progress!

Its never to set late to set your financial goals for the year. Be sure to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and set monthly reminders to track your progress!

Please do take note that this spreadsheet is not a one size fits or fixes all problems. However, this tool coupled with other good financial practices such as reviewing your accounts online regularly and monitoring your credit score / report will provide a great starting point in being financially aware!

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3 thoughts on “Financial Wellbeing – Navigating a Debt Driven Society!

  1. Great info, Jake. My experience is similar, and I’ve long felt basic budgeting/financial planning should be required classes in high school and college (I think some do, but not nearly enough). You’re spot on…it doesn’t have to be difficult, it just takes a little discipline and suppression of the desire for immediate gratification. Thanks for the info and the tools!

  2. Great work Jake! you are so lovely sharing this amazing work, i tried it and will keep and share it! way to GO 🙂 c’est extraordinaire! (some french taste of saying this is awesome!)

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