How have you fared in 2018? Did you start a new job or leave a job? Did you get married this
year? Did you get divorced or widowed? Did you start a family or have a new
baby? Did you retire? Whether there have been notable changes in your personal
or professional life, or even if it has been relatively uneventful, your
personal finances need periodic attention say at least once a year for you to
get a clear view of your current financial situation.
are your important documents?
part of managing your personal finances is keeping your financial records
organized. Where are your documents? If you suddenly had to produce one of
them, would you struggle? Whether it's a utility bill to show proof of address
or your Tax Clearance Certificate, there may be times when you need to locate a
financial record or document fairly quickly. Save yourself the stress and
you are one of those that keeps everything because “you might need it someday,”
you are probably overwhelmed with paper everywhere that you don't need. Paperwork
consumes our offices and homes and our lives. All those paper bills and
statements tend to pile up, and they need to be destroyed or stored securely.
One of the best ways to store and backup your data is to invest in a document
scanner and scan your critical personal and financial documents.
We all have
some sensitive personal documents such as a passport, birth certificates, title
documents, stock certificates, educational certificates or your marriage
license; you need to scan or photocopy these documents for your household
files. Ideally, the original documents should be stored in a sturdy fireproof
filing cabinet or a small fireproof safe.
List out all
the contents and make copies to be kept with your lawyer or other reliable
family member or friend. It is important to protect these from the risk of
fire, flood or other disasters. Don’t go overboard in trying to create Fort
Knox at home, but at the same time don’t leave things lying around in cardboard
boxes at the bottom of your wardrobe for an unscrupulous house keeper to rifle
through whilst you are at work.
Putting documents in
categories helps keep you organized
Financial management (bank
statements and loan agreements)
(policies for your car, health, life)
Real Estate documents
(Title documents, rental agreements etc.)
Estate Planning documents (Powers
of attorney, will, trusts)
Investments (stocks, bonds,
Tax documents (income tax returns, charitable giving)
Employment records (retirement
benefits, Curriculum vitae)
(certificates, professional qualifications, NYSC Certificate)
Home related documents
(warranties, receipts for major items, renovation receipts)
Medical and health records (Latest
health check, recent appointments, medical bills or payments)
Legal documents (passports,
personal records, marriage license, birth certificates, national ID)
Nigerians find themselves victims of fraud and identity theft, in which
personal documents are stolen and the data is used fraudulently. Your financial
information is very personal and it is essential that you maintain
confidentiality to protect yourself from fraud. When your rubbish is picked up,
you don’t know exactly where it ends up. Don’t just carelessly discard old
financial statements; all those old bills, bank statements can become prime
targets for thieves. Consider buying a shredder so that you can immediately
shred any sensitive documents that you no longer need; this way you can minimise
the chances of the wrong person getting at the information.
technology. Why not organise your finances electronically? Advances in personal
finance software have made it possible for anyone with a computer and regular
internet access to create budgets, pay routine bills, manage bank accounts,
track every day finances, and monitor investments. If you haven’t already done
so, register with your bank’s e-banking services and most of your regular
transactions can be handled electronically. There are also personal finance
apps that make money management a breeze.
How are your investments doing?
When last did you review your
short, medium and long-term financial goals to see if you are on track? Is your
portfolio of the right mix to make it possible for you to realise those goals?
If your circumstances have changed, there may be a
need to review things and make some adjustments.
When you are
investing, your time horizon, your risk appetite, your immediate and medium to
long-term needs should be taken into account. Your investments should be
matched with goals and time frames; saving for a new car, or family vacation or
for your children’s education, etc.
Sit with a financial
advisor, stockbroker, real estate expert, insurance advisor and take a look at
your investments; what are the prospects? Should you continue to hold them all?
Should you take advantage of the dip in the capital market to buy some more of
a particular stock since some are trading significantly below their true value?
What is your
networth? Have you ever considered what you are worth? Ideally your
networth should increase each year showing that you are making progress and
that your financial decisions are actually working. By tracking your assets and
your liabilities you have a fair indication of where you stand financially. If
you can, compare it to your networth at the same time last year to see how it’s
changed; what has worked and what hasn’t. This information can influence your
plans for 2019.
Give your insurance some attention
Things happen; circumstances change. How has this year
changed? Most significant life events have financial consequences that need
action. Any significant changes such as a new baby, a marriage, divorce or a
death in the family, may mean that your insurance coverage will need to be
Do you have an estate plan?
An estate plan has as much to do with life, as it has to
do with death. If there have been some major life events this year, a review of
your estate planning documents, including your will and trust are important.
This is simply to ensure that your family can be taken care of according to
your wishes for them.