OWN Your Money: Financial Empowerment and You
By Wendolyn Forbes, CFP®
Your relationship with money may be like most relationships, complicated. In fact, just thinking about money may cause your shoulders to tense, stomach to hurt, and pulse to quicken.
Rather than unpack the why for your reaction, consider actions you may take to manage your relationship with money and feel more empowered about your financial situation.
Consider the word OWN to be an acronym for Organize, Work, Net [Worth]. Following are actions you may take to OWN your money:
Organize your money. How much money are you spending? How much are you saving? If you are unsure of these numbers, check-out the resources available via your financial institution. For example, credit unions and banks, through their online banking portals, often offer tools to help members and customers track spending habits. (Champion Credit Union members have access to Money Manager and Wells Fargo customers have access to Spending Report.) The beauty of these services is that they do the work for you! You log-in and, if you have been using your accounts, you will discover where your money is going. These services may also include accounts from other institutions. In addition, there are apps such as YNAB (You Need a Budget) and Mint available, if you prefer an independent service. The key is to look at what is available, do your due diligence, and decide which service works best for you. Choose a service that you will use regularly.
Work with your money. Once you know where your money is going, work with it by earning more and establishing a measure of security with an emergency fund,
First, consider whether you may earn more. Look at your salary and compare what you are earning to others in your field. One resource is simplyhired.com/salaries. How long have you worked for your current employer? When is the last time you asked for a raise? Do you know how to ask for a raise? Google “How to Ask for a Raise YouTube.” Watch videos. Find an approach that works for you and use it!
Second, presuming that you’ve organized your money, look at how much money you spend in a month. Multiply that amount by 3 if you and your partner are working; multiply by 6 if you are single. Once you have that amount written down, look at your accounts. Do you have enough money to support yourself in the event of an emergency? When you have an emergency fund, you may find that you have less anxiety when it comes to thinking about your relationship with money.
Know your net worth. Net worth is a simple equation: Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth. Assets are things you own like money in the bank, your car, and your home. Assets are things of value that you may negotiate or exchange, if necessary. Liabilities are debts you are paying down such as a car loan, mortgage, personal loan, and credit card. Liabilities take away from the value of your assets.
As an exercise, write down a list of your assets and their values. For example, your bank account would be an asset, so you would write down the amount of money in your account. The value of your home, if you own it, may be found using Zillow.com and write down the value. Next, write down the amounts of your debts. Finally, total each list and use the formula above to calculate your net worth.
Sometimes, the most complicated relationships can be improved by your decision to take empowering actions. While it may feel overwhelming to know which actions to take and when, resources are available to help support your journey. Read, learn, act, and talk with others. You will find inspiration on your journey, and you just may be an inspiration.
Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Wealth Transition Finance, A Member of Advisory Services Network, LLC, where she offers financial planning and investment management services for either a one-time or on-going cost. For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.
Originally published in the June 23, 2022 issue of Rumble, Smoky Mountain News. https://smokymountainnews.com/lifestyle/rumble/item/33844-own-your-money-financial-empowerment-and-you