The Best Way to Understand Personal Finance

When we are trying to understand Personal Finance, the best thing to do is to understand what Personal Finance is NOT.

Many people think that accounting and personal finance are the same, but Personal Finance is NOT Accounting.

On the surface they may seem the same; they both have something to do with money. However, the definitions will help us better understand the differences.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of accounting is “the system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results.”

Based on this definition, we see that accounting is the process of analysing and recording what you have already done with your money.

This is why having an accountant is usually not enough when it comes to your personal finances.

Accountants generally don’t concern themselves with personal finance (there are some exceptions to this rule). Unless your accountant is also a financial advisor or coach, he or she will likely just look at what you have done with your money at the end of the year and provide you with a report of their analysis.

This report is usually your tax return; what you owe the government or what the government owes you.

Very rarely does the accountant provide an individual with a Balance Sheet or Income Statement or a Net worth statement; all very helpful tools that are necessary to effectively manage your personal finances.

Personal Finance is looking at your finances from a more pro-active and goal oriented perspective. This is what provides the accountants with something to record, verify and analyze.

The Merriam-Webster’s (Concise Encyclopedia) definition of “Finance” is the “process of raising funds or capital for any kind of expenditure. Consumers, business firms, and governments often do not have the funds they need to make purchases or conduct their operations, while savers and investors have funds that could earn interest or dividends if put to productive use. Finance is the process of channeling funds from savers to users in the form of credit, loans, or invested capital through agencies including COMMERCIAL BANKS, SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS, and such nonbank organizations as CREDIT UNIONS and investment companies. Finance can be divided into three broad areas: BUSINESS FINANCE, PERSONAL FINANCE, and public finance. All three involve generating budgets and managing funds for the optimum results”.

Personal Finance Simplified

By understanding the definition of “finance” we can break our “personal finance” down into 3 simple activities:-

1. The process of raising funds or capital for any kind of expenditure = Generating an Income.
A Business gets money through the sale of their products and services. This is labeled “revenue” or “income”. Some businesses will also invest a portion of their revenue to generate more income (interest income).

A Person gets money through a job, or a small business (self employment, sole proprietorship, network marketing or other small business venture). The money coming in can be a salary, hourly wage, or commission, and is also referred to as income.

A Government gets money through taxes that we pay. This is one of the main ways that the government generates an income that is then used to build infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools, hospitals etc for our cities.

2. Using our money to make purchases = Spending Money.
How much we spend relative to how much we make is what makes the difference between having optimum results in our personal finances. Making good spending decisions is critical to achieving financial wealth – regardless of how much you make.

3. Getting optimum results = Keeping as much of our money as possible
It’s not how much you MAKE that matters – its how much you KEEP that really matters when it comes to your personal finances.

This is the part of personal finance that virtually everyone finds the most challenging.

Often people who make large incomes (six figures or more) also tend to spend just as much (or more) which means they put themselves in debt and that debt starts to accrue interest. Before long that debt can start to grow exponentially and can destroy any hope they would have had to achieving wealth.

Personal Finance made simple

Personal Finance doesn’t need to be complicated if you keep this simple formula in mind:

INCOME – SPENDING = WHAT YOU KEEP

For Optimal Results you simply have to make more than what you spend and spend less than what you make so you can keep more for you and your family!

If you are not actively working towards an optimal result you will by default get less than optimal results

It really is that simple!

Now that you understand personal finance and WHAT you need to do, the next step is learning HOW to do this!

The best way to start is by following these 3 simple steps:-

1. Know what you want to achieve – “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” has become a very popular quote, probably because it is so true. One of the habits that Stephen Covey highlights in his book “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, is to always start with the end in mind. Knowing where you want to go will be a big help in ensuring you get there.

2. Have a plan – that you can follow that will get you to your goals. Knowing how you will achieve your goals in a step by step plan is invaluable. Sometimes this is easier with the help of an advisor or a financial coach.

3. Use tools and resources – that will help you to stick to your plan and not become distracted by the things in life that could limit our incomes and make us spend more than we should. Don’t try and work it all out in your head! You will end up with a massive headache and your finances will become one gigantic dark fog!

Personal Finance Online Or Personal Finance In Excel?

Wherever you are in the World, be it New York City, New York or Mumbai, India, before technology made things easy and before the explosive use of online services, personal budgets if they were done at all, were largely done on computer spreadsheets, and by far the most popular choice was doing personal finance in excel.

Now that apps and technology have made so many things easier, accessible and convenient online, including managing budgets online, it’s time to reconsider if personal finance in excel has had its day, including all the variations of family budget worksheets, financial planning spreadsheets, or any other offerings of managing money in excel.

The Benefits Of Managing Personal Finance In Excel

The most obvious benefit is that calculations are done by a formula processor so that the mechanics of adding up and making calculations can be automated and easily repeated, pasted, and copied.

That much is obvious, and all sorts of elaborate versions of family budget worksheets in excel can be created by anyone who can write a basic formula. So ease of creation is a major benefit, even though cost of time is high in order to create the formulas, and format the financial spreadsheet as you build it.

Another benefit to managing a budget worksheet in excel is that it could be free, certainly it will be free if you invest the heavy hours to do it yourself. Given that creating family budgets is not exactly a fun day out in the first place, however, many people look for free family budget worksheets or spreadsheets.

These products are invariably created by someone else online and sold or given away free – fully formatted and formulaic.

The Problem with Managing Personal Finance In Excel

The problem with personal finance in excel though is exactly that – personal finance in excel!

It sits on a personal computer or laptop, and is not much use on a smartphone – no-one wants to sit squinting at a finance worksheet or spreadsheet on a phone. Also, the time it takes to personalise these standard financial worksheets in excel can be wasted with one little slip, an accidental delete, formula mismatch and everything clogs up and numbers and columns don’t match up.

It is incredibly hard to recover a corrupted formula unless you are professionally trained in excel.

Also, personal finance in excel is limited to basic calculations and can’t really be integrated easily to a wider range of financial budget decisions. Each personal finance worksheet created in excel is for single purpose, not multipurpose use. One obvious danger is localised loss of the PC, laptop, or attack from virus or malware – spyware and identity theft from an unsecure system.

One very real danger in downloading free financial excel spreadheets is that these are so often given away in promotions, as ways to harvest personal details, or include hidden shipping costs, or suck you into buying something much more expensive later.

You can never be sure if you have bought or loaded illegal pirate copies or OEM software. These localised personal finance spreadsheets might even contain malware, spyware or tracking cookies to steal your data – you just can’t tell.

The Explosive Benefits Of Personal Finance Online.

Managing money online has a lot of the benefits of finance in excel without any of the drawbacks.

In fact the only problem with it isn’t really a problem at all. It costs more than free – but comes with dedicated service, it never crashes, you can’t lose it, someone else has to maintain the connections, and a bunch of employed people are concentrating 100% on making it work and work well.

There are no install problems, hidden costs, or personalised mistakes. The best ones have encryption software to protect security, they make it really easy to use, access it and maintain it.

Financial budgeting online can even be fun, and money saving. Chose one which pays back a user dividend or uses your details anonymously with your permission to find you really cheap deals and money saving opportunities without spamming you to death.

Personally, I think personal finance online software is the only way to go, way better than personal finance in excel, which frankly is decades out of date and not at all convenient.

Think about it – If I’m going to invest time to create a family budget, a critical component of mastering money – why would I not want to gain some benefit through a finance online service which sourced cheaper prices on my behalf – why go and do all that searching myself, all over again?

Surely, conducting personal finance online is a no brainer?

A Quick Guide to Managing Personal Finances Successfully

Managing your money and personal finances is easy with just a basic understanding of the world of finance. You can learn to handle yourself in stressful moments with this guide to personal finances, budgeting money, managing personal finances, using personal budget software or seeking finance help online. Our financial guide offers great value in assisting you in all areas of money.

Most people don’t think of themselves or their lives as a business. But from birth to passing, you are in business for yourself, the business of you. How you choose to manage your business is up to you. The same guidelines that apply to running a successful business also apply to leading a victorious life, both financially with your money and emotionally. Remember stress around money can affect your emotions negatively as well as your health.

Giving adequate service to our fellow human beings is the mirror of a successful business as well as providing value to their lives. If you seek to provide as much value to as many human beings in your life, you are sure to become a successful person and customers and wealth will knock at your door. So how does this apply to managing finances successfully you might ask?

Below are 4 important points of our guide from Personal Finances Online Help.com, to managing personal finances successfully.

Take extra effort in removing any emotion like dept anxiety or overwhelm from financial obligations worry over mounting bills and income. Removing the emotion from your personal finance budgeting will be a work in progress, and you should always remain on guard for over active emotions. Taking emotion out of dealing with your finances will help you come up with positive solutions and solve problems more effectively.
Managing your personal finances on a regular basis rather than letting the admin tasks mount up is important. That way you stay on top of where you are at, can change things, make better decisions ahead of time rather than always being in reaction mode or putting out fires. Avoid decisions that would lead to bankruptcy like over leveraging your loans or taking on financial commitments you don’t know how you can pay back.
Devote yourself to develop greater skill sets like budgeting, planning and even using budgeting software. Managing personal finances like a business is about seizing control of your destiny, both with your finances and your life. Try to be like the great business leaders and attack your future with vigour and enthusiasm. Overseeing your finances in this way, with boldness, and a belief in their importance can have amazing results. Lead your money with boldness, and like an army your personal finances are sure to follow
Using software to support you with your personal budgeting is a good idea because it contains spreadsheets that have everything in one place. You can see very quickly where your current state it, budget better, plan better, not to mention the time it will save you putting your own spreadsheet together. The ultimate personal finance software provides sufficient user-friendly features, allowing users to manage every aspect of their finances, including accounts, investments, future plans and taxes. Software will provide up to date information on tax laws and stock reviews to help you make knowledgeable decisions.

What is the Definition of Personal Finance – Budgeting

If you find yourself asking where to begin with learning proper finance, start with the definition of personal finance, budgeting. Why the definition of personal finance is budgeting we will outline in the following article, because truly there is no more important lesson as to what proper financial management entails, and what will most directly contribute to your success with your money.

Proper Budgeting is Personal Finance Mastery

There is no need to look beyond budgeting when beginning your journey towards personal finance mastery. Budgeting can be a scary prospect when you have not done so for a long time, the money tale told by your expenses and income can paint a poor picture. But whether you are a millionaire with investments, countless loans, mortgages and stock holdings, or an honest hardworking fellow just beginning your financial journey, budgeting is the key to continued success with your money.

Proper personal finance budgeting allows you to account for what monies you have coming in and what monies you have flowing out of your accounts. Mastery of your finances, no matter your level of income is a matter of using this information to make decisions that increase the money you have coming in each month, and decrease the flow of cash you have leaving your possession. If you choose to achieve this through additional investments, decreasing interest rates with consolidation loans or a job promotion the basics of personal finance budgeting remains the same.

Proper managing of one’s debt, income and expenses is the soul of managing your money and that is why the definition of personal finance is budgeting. There is no need to get more complicated than this, with your credit cards, payday loans, investments and stock options, you will find yourself on a sound financial footing if you keep a detailed budget, follow your money, and ensure that you spend less than you earn each and every month.

To properly budget your personal finances you simply add up your sources of income, account for every penny that you have flowing to you each month, and track every expense. I am not concerned with the exact system you employ as long as you are detailed and know how your money is flowing. Track your loans, and if you have bad credit lenders, know how much you are spending in interest. Track your credit cards and what amount of your payments applies to principle and what cash goes towards interest. Make knowing your finances your business and when you have an accurate picture of the flow of your money, then work to improve your finances.

Most mistakes of personal finance are made because honest, hardworking people have an unclear, or foggy idea of how their money is spent from month to month. With a little attention to the details of your cash flow you will find that there are countless ways to save additional money, and increase your income. Keep a focus on the basics of personal finance and never forget that the definition of personal finance is budgeting. You too can start making a profit today.