What you need to get started

Whether you choose to work with a financial planner or create your own plan, there are 3 things you’ll likely need to get started:

  1. Copies of all documents that relate to your financial situation, including your household budgetBudget A monthly or yearly estimated plan for spending and saving. You work it out based on your income and expenses.+ read full definition, savings, debts, assets (such as your home), taxes and insurance
  2. A calculator
  3. A spreadsheet to capture your current numbers

Figure out

  • What you own – This includes big items like your home, car or boat, savings and investments. You’ll find this information in bank and investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition statements, retirement savings and other pensionPension A steady income you get after you retire. Some pensions pay you a fixed amount for life. Others save up money for you while you are working. You use that money to create income after you retire.+ read full definition papers, and your will.
  • What you owe – This includes student loans, mortgageMortgage A loan that you get to pay for a home or other property. Often the loan is for 20 years or more. You make a set number of payments for a set amount each year.+ read full definition, car loanLoan An agreement to borrow money for a set period of time. You agree to pay back the full amount, plus interest, by a set date.+ read full definition, boat loan, credit cards and other bills. Look for your mortgage records, loan papers and credit card bills.
  • What you earn – This includes your pay and other income. Look at your taxTax A fee the government charges on income, property, and sales. The money goes to finance government programs and other costs.+ read full definition returns and pay stubs.
  • What you spend – This includes basics like food, clothing, utilities, and car costs, as well as extra expenses like eating out, insurance, health or dental bills, and money you donate. Look at your bills, receipts and credit card statements.

Take action

Find out:

  1. What you own
  2. What you owe
  3. What you earn
  4. What you spend
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