The other day I wrote about knowing where you want to go in life and visualizing your dreams. Now we look at the other point on your map -where you are now.
It sounds easy enough, but sometimes can be stress to examine where you are now. It can also liberating and empowering.
You can't create a map to your goals without knowing where you starting from.
Being a personal finance writer, I'm going with what I know and use money to show you how to get a clear snapshot.
Getting a Snapshot of Your Life
Seeing your numbers can be powerful. You get to see exactly what your assets and debts are. The problem for many is that they have all this information scattered about that they only have a vague idea of how well/bad they're doing.
The great news is that you can get a snapshot of your finances pretty quickly. There are some free and powerful tools that can gather all of that data. My two favorites are Personal Capital and Mint. (If you want to sign up for either, do – they're awesome!)
Boom! With about 20 minutes of effort you can get a big picture view of all your accounts and also drill down to the transaction level.
There's no excuse – you can get a financial snapshot without having to do a ton of work.
This might the most difficult part – seeing the actual balances in your accounts.
When I did this as a part of our year end review, I realized just how much money was wasted. (Did I mention I'm a personal finance writer? Whomp, whomp)
Once I got over the initial disappointment I started brainstorming ideas on how to fix this.
Maybe you're in the same boat. You might've pulled the data and seen how big your debt is. And it looks almost impossible to fix with your current income.
If you're discouraged by the numbers, remember this – what you see now is temporary. Make a commitment to move closer to your dreams and goals. Let go of the blame, but keep in mind the frustration you feel as it can be fuel to keep you motivated.
You can break free by getting rid of your debts.
Knowing your can move away from your present situation can empower you to start simplifying your budget and using that extra cash to become debt free.
Thoughts on Getting a Snapshot of Your Life
Even though I used money for the example, you can apply the same principles. Don't forget – as awkward and stressful it can be to see where you are now, this is temporary. You can move past this situation.
I'd love to hear from you about your process. Where are you now? Where do you want to be by the end of next year?
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