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How Often Should You Review Important Areas of Your Finances?

How Often Should You Review Important Areas of Your Finances?

Sum up all the service charges for withdrawing from the “other” bank ATM machine.
Plus the overdraft charges for missing the minimum balance requirement for your checking account.
Plus the finance charges and late fees charges for not paying your credit card on time.
You’d probably incurred and stashed a lot of moolah.

Or maybe check out the month-end NAVPS of your mutual funds. (Are you actually aware of the latest NAVPS?)

As the number of your investment grows, or as you make use of your accounts more often (for payment, retail purchase, etc), you need to have a timeline that indicates how often you need to review your finances.

How often do I need to do check my current accounts? 
Even my dormant accounts Just recently, I found out that the balance one of my savings account (since I’m not a fan of putting money in savings accounts), has fallen under minimum when the bank changed its minimum required monthly maintaining balance. Every month, Php300 was deducted from my account!

This inspired post can guide you through the proper frequency on which you review your savings or investment accounts. I’ve added my personal experiences and comments to each.

Thanks to our source, ChristianPF for a practical guide like this in How Often Should You Review Important Areas of Your Finances? Adam Faughn June 19, 2012

Side note: Join our newest Facebook Group: Filipino Financial Freedom Forum. Our mission: #FilipinoFinancialFreedom. Kalayaan!

At Least Once a Week

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1. Checking/savings account – For me, I’d check these accounts on a weekly basis since I have a weekly allowance for myself, which includes transportation cost, food and other miscellaneous, sudden expenses. It would also help me check if I need to deposit money to meet the minimum required daily balance (since I don’t put much money on savings account. In the Philippines, the current savings rate is as low as 0.0375%. You can also set automatic savings using BPI Save Up such that you save instantly.

2. Emergency Fund – If necessary, like in cases of emergency and you need to burn some money for good reasons like health, important house renovation, events, etc.

3. Credit Card – I actually try to minimize my use of credit cards. Since from my experience, credit card expenses pile up and never fail to shock me come statement date. This I choose to add to the weekly checklist since I need to control spending now that my finances are tight and planned throughout the year.



Monthly
4. Budget – I do agree! No two months are alike, I also agree to this. Plan out for the many activities coming every month (Christmas, Halloween, New Year, Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day, Graduation Day, Birthdays!).

5. Bills! – Yeap, track them using online account. Your bank must have an online system (else it’s living in dinosaur time). Keep your electronic statements (Sorry, we love the environment. Go paperless!). Check if the automatic debit arrangement works, how much you paid for utilities (are you consuming too much electricity these days?).

6. Debt levels – If you are in debt sweeping stage (like me this year!), you need to track how you’ve fared in sweeping off the debts.

7. Investments – In the article, Investments are actually listed under Quarterly. For me, I’d also track it monthly since every person must have been investing a portion of monthly paycheck to investments. It is also possible that investments earnings are credited at the end of the month (like time deposits, bonds, savings and interest earning checking accounts). Why not try an automatic way of topping up your mutual funds using BDO Easy Investment Plan.

8. Discounts and Rewards Points – For sure, given the daily expenses you incur, you may be qualified to claim gift certificates or free items from your credit cards or savings accounts. Don’t fail to know the existing promos and merchants which give these freebies!

Quarterly

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9. Investments again – Checking your investments quarterly give you a high level snapshot of how your investments are performing and if they are trending up. Some investments earnings are also credited on a quarterly basis.

Annually

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10. Insurance – Check out if your insurance provider has declared dividends. Assess if you need additional insurance coverage depending on your needs, since your needs may differ as years go by.

11. Mortgage – In the article I think the author is entirely referring to the mortgage loan. For me, I would also add about thinking if the year is right to purchase a new property, how rentals are performing and if tenants are paying.

12. Wills and papers – I think from the time you open a new savings or investment account, make sure you are able to keep the hard copies and soft copies of your statements, as well as original or photocopies of any agreements. Make sure you have drafted your will and annually revise it.

13. Targets – This one I have also added. This can be in a form of an annual tracker, or simply a diary notes of your goals and life plans. Every person has to have goals and see the entire investment horizon, not only the products. It can also be in a form of well-written goals or objectives, such as paying off car loans, getting a new house for a family, or christening of newborn baby. I have an ebook which can help you track your finances using Microsoft Excel. Click here to know more about it. It also comes with a free Excel template which you can use to start tracking your financials.

14. Pay it forward – For some people, they do tithe 10% of their gross income on a monthly basis. Why not include a pay it forward activity which you and your family and friends can enjoy? It will always be a rewarding feeling to be of help to other people. Why don’t you visit my baby blog TouchPhilippines.org which features institutions you can start helping today.

If I have missed out anything, kindly write your comments below.

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