Evaluating Your Spending

shopping cart, receipts and money

After the last #FinanceFriday post, many of you contacted me about setting up Mint.com and Liveplan.com. Congrats on taking that huge first step! And if you didn’t set up either – go do it now!

After setting up one of these accounts you might hit the point of overwhelm and think, now what?!? My advice is first to hook up bank accounts in Mint or accounting system in LivePlan and start bringing in transactions. Both of these programs will turn all of that jumble of numbers and data into visual graphs that will make it easier for to understand and digest.

Now you are ready to evaluate your spending! Why should you do this? The reason is that, for most people, this is the aspect of their finances that they have the most control over. You might not be able to increase your income or change your debt levels over night, but you can very quickly change how you spend your money.

When you first look at where your money goes you might be surprised. Maybe you spend way more on eating out and entertainment than you through. Maybe your rent or your cell phone bill is too big of a portion of your income. Or maybe you have a big pile of cash stashed under your mattress.

Whatever you discover, it is important not to judge yourself harshly. This exercise isn’t a tallying of your financial sins. It’s an objective look at your cash flow. As you look at this information, think about whether your spending is in line with the life or business you want. Then you’ll be ready for the next step.

Need help with Mint or LivePlan? How about taxes? Set up a meeting with me here.

Your Plan to Fail

Your Financial Plan

It’s February and the excitement and sparkle of the new year are starting to fade. Maybe you abandoned your resolutions. And if you never got around to fleshing out big plans for 2015, you will fail- or at least that’s what the adage tells us. It doesn’t matter when you decide to put a plan together- as long as you actually do it. There are two resources that I use and recommend to clients when it comes to financial plans.

Mint.com For Personal Finance

Mint.com is a great web resource for personal financial planning. Mint lets you connect bank, credit card, and investment accounts to track your spending and calculate your net worth. It also lets you create budgets and set financial goals. When I saw graphs of my investment accounts underperforming the S&P, I knew it was time to make changes to meet my retirement goals. The best part about Mint? It’s free!

Liveplan.com For Business Finance

CPAs learn a lot about the analysis we can do with the information in a business’s financial reports. LivePlan is unique in that it performs financial analysis for you. Connect your Xero, QuickBooks desktop, or QuickBooks Online and watch LivePlan create graphs that will give you insights into your business that can’t get from staring at income statements and balance sheets. When I first set up LivePlan, I was shocked to learn how few resources I was putting into marketing. Now I have a plan for serious growth in my business.

Did I mention that I am one of the first 50 professionals to become a certified LivePlan Expert in the country? If you are interested in learning more about LivePlan, click here.

Now that you have the resources it’s time to create those big financial plans. Remember, what is measured improves, so look at your progress every month.

Need help with Mint.com or LivePlan.com? Set up a meeting with me here.