The 2 Most Important Lists You’ll Ever Make
If you want to get anywhere, you need to know where you’re starting. In the case of financial control, your starting point consists of your monetary and non-monetary variables. Before diving into financial projections, financial planning, analysis, investment strategies, or credit management systems. You must first take inventory of your current position. Knowing where you stand today is the best, and quite frankly, the only place to start.
FPF EXERCISE #1: MONETARY INVENTORY
Using the list below, write out your financial inventory with as much detail as possible.
Total Monthly Expenses: List your monthly spending patterns and batch them by category. Get specific here because this will directly affect your financial projections, which we will discuss in the statements section. Monthly expenses include:
Housing: Rent/Mortgage, Property Taxes
Utilities & Bills: Water, Garbage, Electricity, Gas.
Communications: Phone, Internet, Services.
Children/Family: Education, Extra Curricula, Other specifics.
Insurance: Health, Home, Transportation.
Health: Gym, Therapy, Supplements, etc.
Transportation: Car (Gas, Auto Loan, Maintenance), Public Transportation, Lyft/Uber, etc.
Other House Expenses: Cleaning Supplies, Maintenance, Replacements and Repairs, etc.
Entertainment: Restaurants, Cafes, Bars, Movies, etc.
Hobbies & Causes.
Miscellaneous: If there is anything else you spend money on monthly, list it by category!
Big Upcoming Expenses: Is there anything that you know is going to happen in the near future? Is there a wedding coming up, travel plans, concert tickets, buying a gift for a friend’s birthday, investment opportunities, educational opportunities? Make a list of any possible events, risks, investments, expenses, and/or opportunities you can foresee.
Debt: Mortgage, Student Loans, Credit Cards, Auto Loans, etc. List them all in detail.
Savings: Do you have a savings fund/(s)? Are you planning on allocating money towards savings? Money saved up for a rainy day, specific goals, retirement account contributions, investment accounts, etc.
Physical Assets: What are they worth?
Property: House, Apartment, Land, etc.
Commodities: Gold, Silver, Oil, etc.
Do not include valuable family heirlooms that you would not be willing to give up. These are not part of your financial picture. Items include: wedding rings or jewelry/goods that have been passed down.
Liquid Investments: Do you have a 401K and/or an IRA? Have you invested in any mutual funds, ETFs, and/or stocks/bonds? Cryptocurrencies? List them all.
Current Gross Income: How much money do you have coming in every month? If more than one income source exists, list each source.
Other/Uncategorized: If there is any other income or expense not addressed in the list above, then list it here if quantifiable. These can be businesses you may own, debt repayments on money you lent, a side hustle, or anything else.
If this is your first time taking inventory of your finances, congratulations!
This is where you financially stand right now.
FPF EXERCISE #2: NON-MONETARY INVENTORY
This next list might feel strange to make. Thinking of family members as "assets" can be uncomfortable or odd. Non-monetary assets are infinitely valuable, which means you honor them by recognizing them, and you understand how valuable they are because they are irreplaceable.
In short, non-monetary assets are the most important things in your life. This is a list of your natural gifts, tools, assets, connections, and support. You must be able to acknowledge your non-monetary “assets” and their infinite value in order to advance; the point here is to realize what you do have going for you, to recognize your strengths, and honor them.
If there is a category below that does not apply to you, then simply skip it; this list is supposed to highlight what you have going for you:
Health: What does your current health permit in terms of physical and mental abilities? Do you have all limbs? Are you healthy? If so, you are already wealthy.
Family: What kind of family support do you have? Is your family part of your life in any degree or positive manner?
Friends: What kind of social network can you rely on?
Education: High School Diploma, Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, Ph.D., Trade School, Certifications, etc? Are you able to learn?
Resume: What are your skills and work background do you have?
Internet: Do you have access to the internet? Do you have a smartphone? (this privilege alone can lead to a plethora of opportunities.)
Citizenship: What is your nationality? Understand the privilege it is to have a stable rule of law and stable institutions. As an American citizen, you have the rights to institutions, businesses, infrastructure, and opportunities that more than two-thirds of the entire human population do not have access to.
Artistic/Creative Skills/Interests: What are your natural gifts and secret talents? What can you imagine and/or create?
Special Skills: What is it that you can offer to others? How can you help benefit your community? Society? Humanity?
Professional Network: Who are you connected to in the professional world? What businesses do they work for? What can you learn from them and what can you provide or teach?
Time: You DO have time. Your greatest and most precious resource.