So where does all our money go? As with any aspect of life, knowledge is key. To the same extent, technology provides us with the tools to either assist with providing that knowledge, or putting it to work. When running a business, understanding cash flow is an important component of success. The same should hold true with household and personal expenses.
Keeping track of your own data can be your largest asset. Maintaining information on your spending habits is worth its weight in gold, as is the creation of an annual budget.
Displaying your spending habits, in terms of where, when, and what you purchase, enables you to not only analyze and evaluate where your money is being spent, but also to determine whether you are using your cash flow to its full potential and within your budget limits. You will finally be able to answer the most trivial question: “Where did my money go?”
The emergence of technology has brought the development of many online tools that pull data from your financial institution and present it in a rich and meaningful way. For example, imagine depicting with precise accuracy how much you spend on gas as a percentage of your monthly expenditures? You are able to see how much you spend dining out versus eating at home, or how much you allocate to your favourite pets. This is not to suggest how to allocate or judge your personal spending, but rather provide a tool to help you better understand your finances.
The most prominent service today is Mint.com which has proven to be very useful for many individuals. However, when choosing a provider via the internet, it is always important to acknowledge safety and security. You are therefore encouraged to review their terms of service and safety measures prior to activation.
Preparing a budget that takes account of our financial resources, and understanding our cash flow and spending habits will serve us well over time. The sooner children learn this, the better and it can start at an early age. This will assist in detecting fraudulent transactions, help develop positive habits, and ensure your children use their money responsibly. Once mastered, one can then move on to understanding the purpose of investing and the goals you wish to achieve for yourself and your family, be it retirement, producing income for cash flow purposes, or a blend of income and capital gains.
Members of our team would be delighted to assist you in educating members of your family on financial responsibility. A little knowledge can go a long way. It is never too early to start, especially with the younger generations.