This is the third exercise in a series designed to walk you through an entire financial plan. The exercise is embedded in an Excel spreadsheet you can download and save for personal use. You can find the backdrop for the exercise HERE or just jump right in with the instructions given below:
Cash Flow Statement
Through the online banking systems of most banks, you can now view a history of your expenditures for specific periods of time in seconds. If you prefer to do things the old fashioned way, your recent bank statements will also show you your spending past. Seeing what you’ve spent is step one in creating a cash flow statement. Step two is categorizing your spending—where exactly have you spent your money? This can be an eye-opening experience.
Collect all of the statements (online or paper) for every bank account, investment account, 401k, IRA, and so on, along with every statement detailing your debts—mortgages, auto loans, college loans, credit cards and such. Add up your assets and your liabilities and then subtract the latter from the former. The resulting balance is your net worth.
Every dollar that you expect to receive in the coming month should be allocated to a budgetary category. Your fixed expenses are the easiest to plan for, but you must also estimate what your variable expenses are going to be. You also can’t forget about those expenses that come quarterly, semiannually, or annually. This should include things like your water bill or insurance premiums that you pay on an interval other than monthly, but it should also include those personal expenses like vacations.
Click HERE to access an online exercise to complete all three!