A Personal Financial Check Up

There are two fundamentals that you should consider when evaluating your personal finances. One is your net worth and the other is your net cash flow. Once you understand the basics of each of these fundamentals, along with their importance, you will be in a position to measure your own financial health and then begin a program of setting goals and meeting them.

First, what is the definition of net worth? Simply speaking net worth is your total assets minus your total liabilities. Essentially this reflects what you own minus what you owe and establishes your personal financial bottom line. Next, what is your net cash flow? This reflects what you have left over at the end of an income and expense period. If after paying your expenses at the end of this period, you have cash remaining then you have positive cash flow or a cash surplus. If at the end of this period you are in the hole and your expenses exceed your income, you are either operating at a deficit (or going into debt) thus your cash flow is obviously negative. The two fundamentals of net worth and net cash flow work together and seemingly go hand in hand in that assets are essentially the result of income not offset by expenses and a liability results in expenses which are not covered by income.

Below is an overview of the four financial components of net worth and net cash flow:

· Assets – an asset is an item of economic value which you own. It could include cash, real estate, personal property (i.e. autos, jewelry, collectibles). It also includes securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or ownership in a business.

· Liabilities – a liability is a debt or something you owe. It may or may not be tied to an asset. For example the liability of a mortgage is tied to your home (or real estate) which is an asset, also the liability of an auto loan is tied to personal property which is an asset, your car. Some liabilities are tied simply to expenses such as any unpaid bills you owe for services extended to you.

· Income – income naturally reflects your earnings. Your total earnings could be from your job also from any income producing assets that you have. Income is typically received in periodic or cyclical intervals.

· Expenses – expenses arise from anything you purchase or acquire or any services you request.

It is a good idea to calculate your net worth annually. Tax season might be a good time to put this on your calendar as it’s a good time to take stock of where things stand financially. Your net worth is subject to change and is a good barometer of year-to-year changes and will assist you in determining whether you are heading in the right direction. Calculating your net worth will also reveal the following:

1.How well your investments are performing overall? Are you saving and adding to your investment accounts as planned? Are your investments rising and generally keeping pace with the market as well as competing investment opportunities.

2.Are you equipped to weather a financial emergency? Do you have sufficient liquid assets to see you through a job loss or other equally financially draining events?

3.Are you using credit wisely? Is your debt under control and are you able to service the debts you have while meeting your other short and long term financial objectives? Or is your debt out of control and your debt servicing increasing faster than your earnings preventing you from meeting your other financial goals.

4.How are you managing life’s risks? Are you properly insured to protect yourself, your family and your assets? Do you have adequate medical, disability, homeowner’s (or renter’s) and life insurance to protect any dependents?

Nancy Osborne, Nancy Osborne has had experience in the mortgage business for over 20 years and is a founder of both ERATE, where she is currently the COO and Progressive Capital Funding, where she served as President. She has held real estate licenses in several states and has received both the national Certified Mortgage Consultant and Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist designations. Ms. Osborne is also a primary contributing writer and content developer for ERATE.

"I am addicted to Bloomberg TV" says Nancy.

Please read our continuing series that looks at money management in all forms:

Money - Keeping Your Eyes on the Big Picture

Money Management Practices Worth Following

How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?

What's Your Investment Personality?


Fannie Mae & Jumbo Mortgage Rates

Just One Click! = Current Rate Chart

Pennsylvania Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Hawaii Current Mortgage Rates - Alaska West Virginia Mortgage Rates Virginia Mortgage Rates District of Columbia Mortgage Rates Maryland Mortgage Rates Delaware Mortgage Rates New Jersey Mortgage Rates Connecticut Mortgage Rates Rhode Island Mortgage Rates Massachusetts Mortgage Rates New Hampshire Mortgage Rates Vermont Mortgage Rates New Hampshire Mortgage Rates Maine Current Mortgage Rates Vermont Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - New York Current Mortgage Rates - Michigan Current Interest Rates - Wisconsin Current Mortgage Rates - MINNESOTA Ohio Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Kentucky Current Mortgage Rates - Indiana Illinois - Current Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Iowa Missouri Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - North Carolina South Carolina Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Florida Current Mortgage Rates - Georgia Current Mortgage Rates - Tennessee Current Mortgage Rates - Alabama Current Mortgage Rates - Mississippi Current Mortgage Rates - Louisiana Current Mortgage Rates - Arkansas Current Mortgage Rates - Oklahoma Current Mortgage Rates - TEXAS Current Mortgage Rates - New Mexico Current Mortgage Rates - Arizona Current Mortgage Rates - Kansas Current Mortgage Rates - Nebraska Current Mortgage Rates - Colorado Current Mortgage Rates - Wyoming South Dakota Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - North Dakota Current Rates - Montana Idaho Current Rates Washington Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Oregon Current Mortgage Rates - Utah Current Mortgage Rates - Nevada Current Mortgage Rates - California

Start by selecting your state

Get the Updated and Improved Mortgage Rates App from

iPad for Mortgage Rates

Refinancing: Getting Started

Refinancing Info and Advice

Refinancing: Selecting a Loan

FREE Mortgage Rate Widgets
Your State's Rates or National Rates
Get this Widget for any State you want