Create a Financial Health Fact Sheet

Written by LauraGiveMe10 Published in

Thought Leader Blog Post

We are smart women. We are financially responsible. Yet we -- or maybe I should just say I -- am not as on top of my finances as I should be. There is a dizzying array of financial info I should have at my fingertips but instead struggle to manage -- or flagrantly avoid. If I'm managing a family of 5, I should know how much we have saved for retirement as readily as I know if we need to put cereal on the shopping list, or where the baseball cleats are. I should spend at least as much time managing our finances as I do planning a dinner party or preparing for a board meeting. But somehow all those other things are easier to grasp and more immediate than if we can pay for college or if we have a higher mortgage rate than we need to. The truth is, I feel all at the same time overwhelmed, scared and hopelessly bored at the thought of doing a deep dive into finances.

Almost anything looks more urgent -- whether it's laundry or a dinner date. I'm not saying I've been living in a vacuum, careless about the future. It's more that once I make a decision (hopefully a smart one), I don't spend a lot of time monitoring it, tweaking the plan, taking in new information. So this is my month to create a "Financial Health Fact Sheet" so I can learn and understand, 10 minutes at a time. I know myself and know that 10 minutes is all I can promise. For all I know, at the end of the month we will maintain the status quo -- maybe I'll learn that we're on the right course in all the key areas. Or, maybe I'll see some giant gaps and I can fix them. Either way, I'll have information and understanding. If you are in the same boat, I hope you will join me in this challenge. None of us need to be a rocket scientist to do this. We're just taking little steps to feel more and more in control. And knowledge is power! You can "play along" or enroll in the challenge at and select the July 1st post.

My first day on the Finances Challenge

I set the timer for 10 minutes and got going. My top priority was naming the items I would like to include on my Fact Sheet. This is my list... Items to put on my Financial Health Fact Sheet: Current Savings/investments balance

  • Curent Checking account balance
  • College savings as of today
  • My checking account interest rate
  • Mortgage interest rate
  • Mortgage balance
  • Current home insurance (cost and coverages)
  • Auto insurance (cost and coverages)
  • Daily spending average (track daily spending this month)
  • Monthly grocery spending
  • Balance of miles/points in those credit card rewards programs (and do they expire?)
  • Average annual charitable giving

Once I've collected "the facts", then I can...

  • Compare checking account rates to see if I've got a good one
  • Compare mortgage rates
  • Compare home insurance rates
  • Compare auto insurance rates
  • Pick something to buy with credit card points
  • Set annual goal for charitable giving
  • Estimate how much income we'll need to retire in the year two-thousand-it's-coming-too-soon
  • Estimate college costs in 2017, 2019, 2023
  • Figure out how much more we need to save for college

After making my list, I still had a few minutes, so I started on "Checking account interest rate". I signed on to my bank's website and opened "statements". On the statements, it showed that I am earning a whopping 0.01%. This made me laugh -- that means that the simple annual return on a balance of $1,000 is $10! Take a friend to Starbucks! Or take half of yourself to a movie! This is what I meant above when I said that I make smart (I hope) decisions, but then I don't monitor them. When I selected this bank, it had the most competitive interest rate (along with free checking and free ATM transactions from any bank). Now I need to see if it's still the best... So, at the end of Day 1, I already know more than I knew yesterday. And that means just a little more control -- Step 1 to financial health. To join the "Financial Health" challenge, just select "Free Sign Up" above... I will post weekly updates as my Financial Fact Sheet comes together (daily updates will be on in the blog). I hope we can share progress and tips with each other during the process... Thanks for reading!

I'm Laura Brady Saade of -- Give Me 10 is all about finding fun, productive, meaningful ways to use the rare 10-minute gaps in the day's schedule...


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