Personal finance numbers

5 Personal Finance Numbers for Better Wealth and Health

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It’s essential to know your personal finance numbers when assessing your financial situation. Knowing these financial numbers is necessary to see how you stack up and where you can improve. It can only help improve your financial planning.

Your financial health and wellness start with knowing where you stand with your personal finances. 

The following are 5 important personal finance numbers to know.

1. Net Worth

Your net worth is by far the most important of the financial numbers, but also the most overlooked. Net worth measures your wealth. The net worth number takes into account what’s left after calculating what you OWN minus what you OWE.

Calculate your net worth number by doing the following:

  1. List your assets (what you own), estimate the value of each, and add up the total. These may include money in savings accounts, investments, the value of your car, the market value of a home, retirement accounts, etc.
  2. List your liabilities (what you owe) and add up the total. These may include your loans, credit card balances, mortgage, etc.
  3. Subtract what you own with what you owe:

Net worth = Assets (what you own) – Liabilities (what you owe)

Need more? Read the following:

2. Income Number

The income that comes into your life is a crucial financial number to know. But many people only focus on income from a job. 

Your income is the money you make through your salary at work, other jobs, or investment returns. We often focus only on the income from wages, but it’s quite important to know your total annual income from all sources. It will help you create an income strategy and be less reliant on one single income stream.

Do the following to calculate your annual income number:

1. In one column, list all your sources of income such as primary job, side gigs, dividends, etc.

2. In the second column, write the income made from each source.

3. Total the number of sources and income.

Did you know that majority of millionaires have more than one income stream? They have on average 7 sources of income. Calculate this personal finance number and start planning your income diversification.

Need more? Read the following:

3. Net Cash Flow

Your cash flow number helps determine if you can cover your expenses with the income you receive. It’s calculated on a monthly basis and can help you see if you are living within, below, or above your means. 

If your net cash flow is positive, then you have extra money to put towards your financial goals. If your net cash flow is negative, it may be time to cut back on expenses and increase income. The following is the equation:

Total Monthly Net Income – Total Monthly Expenses = Net Cash Flow

  1. Add the monthly income from all sources (before taxes and deductions)
  2. Add all monthly expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, subscriptions, loan payments, groceries, etc)
  3. Subtract total monthly net income with the total monthly expenses to get your Net Cash Flow

Calculating your cash flow is part of the budgeting process. With a budget, you identify and allocate your money towards your expenses and goals. Cash flow number is how you determine if your monthly income is sufficient to cover your monthly expenses. 

Need more? Read the following:

4. Credit score

When it comes to personal finance numbers, many people default to thinking credit scores. It’s an essential number but not the most important when assessing your wealth. Your credit score uses information found in a credit report such as credit history, payments, and other factors.

Having good to excellent credit increases your chance for better rates and loan terms.

Get your free credit scores by the following methods:

  1. Ask your bank or credit union if they offer free credit scores
  2. Ask your existing credit card company about accessing free credit scores
  3. Use one of the many free credit score apps available

Additionally, it’s good practice to review your report from all three major credit bureaus annually. Access them on annualcreditreport.com.

Need more? Read the following:

5. Debt-to-income

Your debt-to-income (DTI) can show if you’re over-leveraged meaning your income is heavily allocated towards loans. The DTI ratio is used by lenders to determine whether or not you’re approved for loans like mortgages. But it’s also good for you to know your total debt load as it relates to your income. 

Most importantly, a high DTI percentage can mean the inability to cover debt or loan obligations in the future. You want to keep an eye on growing loan payment amounts and stagnant income growth. The following is the equation:

Total monthly debt payments / Total gross monthly income = Debt-to-Income Ratio

  1. Add your monthly bills (mortgage payments; student, auto, or other fixed monthly payments; credit card minimum monthly payments; other debts)
  2. Divide the total of your monthly loan payments by your monthly gross income (income before taxes).
  3. The result is a percentage called your DTI ratio.

The lower your DTI the less risky to lenders and an indication of better financial standing. This can increase the approval odds when refinancing credit card debt and student loan debt. The result could be a positive net change in cash flow and net worth.

Need more? Read the following:

Additional personal finance numbers

Now that you know the most important personal finance numbers, you can focus your attention on improving them. I believe the best financial plans require knowing how your stand today and where you’d like to see your finances tomorrow.

I want to note that there are many other financial numbers to know such as your desired retirement age. This can help plan retirement income that includes social security benefits, retirement contributions, and funds in taxable brokerage accounts.

And if you’re interested in achieving financial independence, it’s vital to calculate your FI number. Your financial independence number looks at your investment portfolio, savings rate, and projected income in retirement (or early retirement).

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