Terms of Use:

Make A Financial Plan

Figuring Out Your Finances

This knowledge article is part of a series of knowledge articles aimed to help you define your roadmap to savings and investing. To review the previous knowledge article in this series, click here. To review the table of contents for the articles, click here.

You can never take a journey without knowing where you're starting from, and a journey to financial security is no different. You'll need to figure out on paper your current situation--what you own and what you owe.

You'll be creating a "net worth statement." You can print out this page and list what you own (these are your "assets") and what you owe (these are your "liabilities" or debts).  Or click here to complete an Excel spreadsheet. 

Subtract your liabilities from your assets. If your assets are larger than your liabilities, you have a "positive" net worth. If your liabilities are greater than your assets, you have a "negative" net worth.

Your Net Worth Statement

Assets Current Value Liabilities Amount
cash ______________ mortgage balance ______________
checking account ______________ credit cards ______________
savings ______________ bank loans ______________
cash value of life car loans ______________
insurance ______________ personal loans ______________
retirement accounts ______________ real estate ______________
real estate ______________ ______________
home ______________ ______________
other ______________ ______________
investments ______________ ______________
personal property ______________ ______________
Total ______________ Total ______________

Update your "net worth statement" every year to keep track of how you are doing. Don't be discouraged if you have a negative net worth. If you follow a plan to get into a positive position, you're doing the right thing. That leads us to the next step in the journey toward saving, figuring out your income and expenses.


Now, you need to make a record of your income and your expenses for every month. Write down what you and others in your family earn, and then your monthly expenses.

Print out this page and fill out the chart at the right. Start out with how much you take home and then figure out where it goes every month. Many people get into the habit of savings and investing by following this advice: Always pay yourself or your family first.

Many people find it easier to pay themselves first, if they allow their bank or credit union to automatically remove money from their paycheck and deposit it into a savings or investment account. That way they are never tempted to spend the money before they pay themselves first.

If you are spending all your income, and never have money to save or invest, you'll need to look for ways to cut back on your expenses. When you watch where you spend your money, you will be surprised how little everyday expenses that you can do without add up over a year.

You're in the savings habit! Now that you are freeing up some money to save and invest, it's time to move ahead to the next stop in your journey.

Monthly Income
and Expenses

Income: ____________
Expenses: ____________
Savings: ____________
Investments: ____________
Housing: ____________
rent or ____________
mortgage: ____________
electricity: ____________
gas/oil ____________
telephone: ____________
water/sewer: ____________
property tax: ____________
furniture: ____________
Food: ____________
Transportation: ____________
Loans: ____________
Insurance: ____________
Education: ____________
Recreation: ____________
Health care: ____________
Gifts: ____________
Other: ____________
Total: ____________