- Financial assets include cash, cars, houses, retirement accounts, investment properties and other valuables, like art and jewelry.
- Financial liabilities are long term debt, mortgages, student loans, credit card balances, and other personal loans.
- Saving, budgeting and spending decisions should be based on knowing your net worth.
There is a lot you can get done in a half-hour. Binge your favorite sitcom, take a nap or finish a chapter of a book. You can also take the first step to financial independence in under 30 minutes.
Do you know your net worth?
You don't have to be a millionaire to figure it out. It's a simple equation and a valuable tool that says a lot about your financial health.
Your net worth is essentially the sum of all your assets, minus your liabilities. Your assets could include cash, cars, houses, retirement accounts, investment properties and other valuables, like art and jewelry. Your liabilities are long term debt, mortgages, student loans, credit card balances, and other personal loans. Figure out the difference between what you own and what you owe. That's your net worth.
The most important step right is reducing your liabilities. Start by paying down debt with the highest interest rates, especially credit cards that can have interest rates higher than 25%.
Once you have a plan for paying down debt, it's time to create a budget. You can get started on this in less than 30 minutes too.
More from Invest in You:
Boost your budgeting IQ by answering these 10 questions
The fastest way to build your emergency fund and gain financial freedom
Making cents: More schools are teaching financial literacy
Creating a budget may seem complicated and may not sound like fun, but the point of the exercise is to get started, so this initial budget will not be detailed.
Begin by listing all sources of income you receive in a month. Don't forget side hustles!
Then, write down all your essential expenses, stuff like rent, car payments and utilities.
Now list everything you spend money on, but don't really need. These are your non-essentials, things like entertainment, eating out or shopping.
Next, download your most recent credit card statement or debit card statement. Then go through each line item and place them in either essential or non-essential categories.
With your expenses categorized, you now have a snapshot of your spending habits. Go through the non-essentials and see where you can reduce spending. This may mean eating out less and cooking more at home. Or maybe you'll discover a subscription you no longer use that you did not know you were still paying.
It is important to have a budget and make a plan to decrease spending. Then, you can start contributing money to an emergency fund. We'll cover that next week.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.