How to get a handle on your money
By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance
So, you’ve finally made the choice to get a handle on your finances. What’s the best way to pull it all together and then track your progress?
Perhaps you should draw a picture … or, more precisely, a map.
A financial network map is a one-page diagram that shows the links and relationships between each of your financial accounts, which include but aren’t limited to bank, brokerage, fund, retirement, credit card, and service accounts, says Jim Wang on his Bargaineering blog. Click here and here for some other examples.
These maps are valuable for two reasons, Wang believes. First, they give you a good snapshot of your finances, something that lots of people have trouble with. Second, the exercise forces you to understand and, if you’ve got one, discuss your finances with your partner.
Communication is the key to success in any relationship, be it a marriage, a partnership or simply a friendship. Couples who successfully survive life’s financial trials are those who take the time to recognize the way money flows through their life, and who learn to talk about it effectively. And a network map is a good place to start.
Although all you really need is paper and a pencil to get started, here are a couple of free mapping programs you might want to take a look at, courtesy of the Rainy Day Pennies and Lifehacker blogs.
Posted by: jim | Apr 22, 2021 5:56:40 PM
Thanks for mentioning my idea of a financial network map!
Posted by: Tommy Chong | Apr 22, 2021 11:25:35 PM
Everybody have fun tonight!
Posted by: kyle | Apr 23, 2021 5:50:55 AM
Thanks for the mention, I found it really helps to have a good solid view of how your money is flowing through your accounts.
Posted by: Teresa | Apr 23, 2021 8:27:29 AM
I read alot of what you write and have never been impressed. Like your provinces with the least taxes...BULL. I have homes in a few provinces and ALBERTA says they have no sales tax, but why is 90% of the merchandise more costly before taxes here. I actually buy many things in Saskatchewan or Manitoba and even BC and bring them back, because even after all the taxes in the other provinces the products still end up costing less nearly everywhere else. And Montreal prices are 1/2 of Calgary's or Edmonton's on just about everything! So gas and smokes are more expensive everywhere else who gives a crap when beef in Alberta is twice the price of beef in Sask, and when you pay 0% gst on shoes that cost 59.99 or 8% on the same shoes for 29.99 - YOU PAY LESS EVRYWHERE ELSE.
Posted by: wealth-i-am | Apr 23, 2021 12:45:55 PM
At times like these people tend to focus on money as an indicator of tangible wealth. Shouldn't things like social capital (networks, reputation,etc.) and personal competencies ( knowledge, skills abilities and values), which drive wealth, also be a focus of concern?
Posted by: Accter | Apr 23, 2021 12:58:41 PM
To answer your question money is the tangible reflection of strong social capital skills. If you have good networking skills, a good reputation, and are personally competent you will have money. So its not as if by concentrating on wealth that we forget these social skills it is more that wealth provides a scale of measure (not the only one but one never-the-less).
Posted by: Trepidum | Apr 23, 2021 1:01:57 PM
A simple Excel spreadsheet is all that is needed to look at the big picture on a yearly or twice yearly basis.
File paper copies of all your statements (credit card, bank accounts, mutual funds (which I think are the biggest fraud perpetuated on mankind but that's besides the point), stocks, etc...
I have also kept a paper diary and write in all my cash expenses on a daily basis for the past 25 years.
Posted by: Cathy | Apr 23, 2021 3:32:17 PM
Thanks for the link to my article! If you are wondering how I made my maps, I used mind mapping software called XMind, mentioned in the lifehacker round up. There is a free version available at http://xmind.net that is a java application, cross platform for Windows, Linux and Mac. There is even a thumb drive portable version!
Posted by: Navi | Apr 23, 2021 5:59:14 PM
The mapping provides an excellent visual of your income/expenses. I created an excel workbook so I can keep a trail of my previous year's income/expenses as well. So, the Excel spreadsheet works pretty much the same and the mapping system.
Posted by: James | Apr 24, 2021 2:16:29 AM
I will recommend using http://DesktopBudget.com to manage personal finances and investment portfolio. Its the best, free, offline personal finance manager I have seen so far.
Posted by: Penny Stocks Kit | Apr 24, 2021 12:30:57 PM
Perhaps you should draw a picture … or, more precisely, a map?
Need t be come an artis then :)