While you shed the winter funk and spring clean your home, don't forget to cut the clutter and straighten up your finances. If you don't know where to begin, start with your budget.
"You have to know what's coming in and going out. In terms of expenses, most people don't know what they spend and most underestimate [their spending]," said Ellen Rogin, a certified financial planner in Northfield, Ill.
For example, Rogin said she was creating a financial statement for one of her clients who had bank accounts in multiple locations. The client "was 40 years old and she still had a custodian account she never cleaned up," Rogin said.
When the client saw her net worth, she suddenly remembered she had stock certificates in a safe deposit box that her parents had given her years before. "She had half a million dollars and didn't even know it," Rogin said.
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OK, you probably don't have half a million dollars you're unaware of, but you should still know your net worth. That's your assets, such as your savings and investments, minus your liabilities, such as credit card debit and student loans. Having a budget and regularly checking it will help you keep an eye on your net worth.