Improve Your Financial Wellbeing With Our Easy 8-Step Financial Health Check

Published 28/03/2024 | Last Updated 02/04/2024
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Just like your physical and mental health, your financial health matters. It’s all connected. A financial health check is a complete look at your money situation. It helps make sure you’re on the right path to reach your financial goals while building your financial literacy. 

You can use this article as a financial health checklist tool. Completing the list will help you to be happier with your financial positioning. With some smart moves and careful planning, you can stay financially healthy. 

Table of Contents

Why Conduct a Financial Health Check?

Regular financial health checks are like medical check-ups. They make sure your finances are in order. 

Stay in Control: Life can change quickly, with job loss, illness, or unexpected bills. Regularly checking your finances helps you keep up with these changes.

Adjust Your Plans: As your life changes, your financial plans should too. This could be due to changes in your income, family, or goals.

Peace of Mind: Knowing your finances are in order can reduce stress and anxiety about money. Having good financial wellness lets you focus on other important parts of your life.

Detect Problems Early: Regular reviews can help you spot issues before they become bigger problems. This can save you time, money, and stress.

Stay on Track with Goals: Whether you’re saving for a home, planning for retirement, or paying off debt, periodic checks make sure you’re moving towards your goals.

Optimize Your Finances: A financial health check lets you review your spending, saving, and investing. It helps you find ways to cut costs, save more, or invest better.

How often should I review my finances?

It’s a good idea to check your finances every six months or at least once a year.

But, you might need to do it more often if big changes happen in your life or money situation. This could be things like getting married, having a baby, changing jobs, or getting close to retirement.

By making financial health checks a regular part of your routine, you can ensure that your financial position stays steady. 

Here’s how you can make sure your financial health stays in check:

Step 1: Assess Your Spending and Saving Habits

The foundation of good financial health is understanding how to manage your money.

Start by looking at your bank statements. Sort your spending into must-haves (like housing, utilities, and groceries) and nice-to-haves (like eating out, entertainment, and subscriptions). This sorting will show you where your money is going.

Think about these questions:

  • Are there areas where you’re spending too much? Look for any habits of spending on things you don’t really need.
  • Are you saving enough each month? Check if your savings match your financial goals.

Next, make a budget. It’s a way to plan how you use your income for expenses, savings, and paying off debt.

Set limits for each spending area. This helps make sure your spending fits your priorities and financial goals.

Remember, a budget should be flexible. It should change if your income or expenses change. And it should let you have fun, too!

Step 2: Evaluate Your Debt Levels

Debt is normal part of life, but it can become a big problem if not handled well.

This is especially true for high-interest debt, like credit card balances. If you don’t keep an eye on it, it can get out of hand fast.

To improve how you manage your debt, try these steps:

List Your Debts: Write down all your debts, like credit cards, personal loans, and student loans. Note the total amount, interest rate, and minimum payment for each.

Assess the Impact: Look at how your debt affects your money situation. Are your debt payments taking up a lot of your income? Are high-interest rates making your debt grow too fast?

Prioritize Repayment: Focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This saves you money on interest. You can use the debt avalanche method: pay the minimum on all debts, but pay more on the one with the highest rate.

Explore Consolidation Options: If you have many debts, consider consolidating them. This means taking one loan to pay off all your debts, hopefully at a lower interest rate. It can make payments simpler and save you money.

Set a Repayment Plan: Make a plan that fits your budget. Decide how much you can pay towards your debts each month and stick to it.

Avoid More Debt: While paying off your debt, try not to take on new debt. Be careful with credit cards and don’t take unnecessary loans.

Step 3: Review Your Emergency Fund

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes things go wrong.

You might lose your job, face medical emergencies, or need to fix major issues at home. An emergency fund is like a safety net for your money. It helps you handle these surprises without messing up your finances.

Check Your Fund: See how much you have in your emergency fund. It should cover 3 to 6 months of living costs for unexpected expenses.

Figure Out What You Need: Look at your monthly costs like rent, utilities, and food. Multiply this by how many months you want to cover with your fund.

Set a Goal: If your fund is too small, make a goal to increase it. Break this goal into smaller monthly or weekly amounts that fit your budget.

Make Saving a Priority: Treat your emergency fund like a must-pay bill. Set up automatic transfers to your savings account to keep adding to it regularly.

Pick the Right Account: Keep your emergency fund separate and in a place you can get to easily. Choose an account with a good interest rate but where you can still take out money fast if you need to.

Check and Change: As things in your life change, take another look at your emergency fund. If your costs go up or something big changes in your life, you might need to save more.

Step 4: Check Your Insurance Coverage

Having good insurance is key to protecting your money, your loved ones, and giving you peace of mind.

Make sure to check your insurance policies to see if they still fit your needs.

Health Insurance: Check if your policy covers your medical needs and any possible health problems you might have.

Life Insurance: Make sure your life insurance can support your family if something happens to you.

Disability Insurance: Think about how a serious illness or injury could affect your income, and make sure you’re covered.

Other Policies: Look at other insurance you have, like for your home, car, or extra coverage, to make sure they give you enough protection.

Step 5: Analyse Your Retirement Savings

A secure and comfortable retirement, where you can keep living the way you’re used to, depends partly on having strong savings.

Start by checking your pension and other retirement accounts to see how you’re doing. Are you saving enough for the retirement you want?

Use retirement calculators to figure out what you’ll need based on your age, income, and how you want to live in retirement. If your savings aren’t enough for your goals, it’s time to look at your plan again.

Saving more now can really help your financial security later. If your retirement savings are off track, think about getting advice from a financial advisor.

A professional can give you tailored advice to get your savings back on track and make sure you’re heading towards the retirement you want

Step 6: Set Financial Goals

Having clear financial goals is key to successful financial planning.

Start by sorting your goals into short-term and long-term.

Short-term goals could be saving for a trip, building an emergency fund, or paying off credit card debt.

Long-term goals might be buying a house, paying for your kids’ education, or having a comfortable retirement.

Once you know your goals, set clear targets and deadlines. For example, save $10,000 for a house down payment in three years or pay off $5,000 in credit card debt in 12 months.

Having clear goals helps you track progress and adjust if needed.

It’s also key to rank your goals by how urgent and important they are. This helps you use your money wisely and focus on what’s most important.

Having clear financial goals guides your money choices, motivates you, and gives you purpose. They help you stay on track with saving and spending, making it easier to reach your dreams and enjoy financial stability.

Step 7: Create or Update Your Will

A good will is a key part of your financial plan. It makes sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, while providing clarity for your loved ones. 

If you don’t have a will yet, it’s time to make one. Talk to an expert in estate planning to create a will that matches your wishes and follows relevant laws.

If you already have a will, make sure to check and update it often, especially after big life changes like getting married, getting divorced, having a baby, or other changes in your money situation. An old will can cause confusion, so keep it up-to-date with your current wishes.

Besides your will, think about using other tools like trusts, living wills, and powers of attorney. These can help fully protect and manage your assets and healthcare choices.

Step 8: Get Professional Advice

Understanding personal finance can be tough, especially when making choices that affect your financial future.

If you’re unsure about any part of your finances or have big financial decisions to make, getting advice from a professional can be a smart move.

Of course, if you haven’t already done so, we recommend contacting us. Our team of financial advisors are all highly experienced professionals who are ready to help you succeed. 

A qualified financial advisor can give you personalized advice based on your situation. They can create a detailed financial plan that fits your goals, how much risk you can handle, and your money situation. They can help with things like investing, planning for retirement, saving on taxes, or planning your estate, and a range of other financial services

When choosing a financial advisor, pick someone with the right skills, experience, and who promises to put your interests first. Feel free to ask about their qualifications, how they plan finances, and how they get paid.

Investing in professional advice can pay off in the long run. It can help you handle your money better and reach your financial goals with confidence.

Of course, if you haven’t already done so, we recommend contacting us. Our team of financial advisors are all highly experienced professionals who are ready to help you succeed. 

Useful Resources

Budgeting Tools: Apps like Mint, YNAB (You Need A Budget), and PocketGuard can help you track your spending and create a budget.

Debt Management: Websites like NerdWallet and Credit Karma offer tips and tools for managing debt and improving your credit score.

Retirement Planning: The Moneysmart Retirement Planner and AARP Retirement Calculator can help you estimate your retirement needs and savings.

Investment Education: Investopedia and Morningstar provide comprehensive guides and tutorials on investing basics and strategies.

Insurance Information: The Insurance Information Institute (III) offers insights on choosing the right insurance coverage.

Financial Advice: Consider consulting with a certified financial planner (CFP) for personalized advice. Our team of experienced financial advisors are all certified and ready to help you with anything you might need. 

Conclusion

Regular financial health checks are an essential part of maintaining and improving your overall financial wellbeing. By assessing your current situation, setting clear goals, and taking proactive steps to manage your finances, you can achieve peace of mind and a more secure financial future.

Would you like some help? We’re here to make sure your financial situation is as good as it possibly can be, so you can enjoy the life and retirement you deserve. Contact us today to get started with a free consult. 

We look forward to hearing from you!