What I have learned in life when it comes to keeping track of your personal finances is that “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
This is proven by psychologists. If you are trying to achieve a goal, the more often that you monitor your progress, the greater the likelihood that you will succeed, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. In fact, your chances of success are even more likely if you report your progress publicly or physically record it.
If your goal for 2019 is getting your personal finance in order, your first step is really to start keeping tracking of personal finances – knowing where you are, what you need to do to meet the numbers you want.
To help you, I have created a super useful excel template to help you to track your personal finances.
This template is specifically designed for a Millennial in Singapore. Basically, there are five key components to this template which will help you benefit in the following ways:
- Asset Allocation: View all your assets in a single view to understand how much you have in total, the percentage breakdown and where they are.
- Monthly Savings & Expenses: Keep track of your monthly expenses and the specific percentage you are able to save from your take-home salary
- Insurance: Consolidate all insurance policies to understand what are your gaps
- Income Tax Relief: Understand what you need to do in order to reduce your income tax
- Salary: To ensure that when you’re young, you are improving your income every 1-2 years to beat inflation and growing in your career.
By keeping track of your personal finance, you can ensure that you are on track to meeting your goals; to hold yourself accountable and to feel motivated to improve.
I would highly recommend that you spend some time to fill up this sheet before 2019 so that you can start the year right. After filling it up, you can also bookmark it on your desktop so that you can review this on a monthly or weekly basis.
I use this template too and I review my finances every Sunday before the week begins. This is to ensure that I am on track. It also serves as a reminder for me not to overspend.
1) Asset Allocation
The first sheet in the free excel template is dedicated to your asset allocation. The idea is to help you to view all your assets in a single place to understand how much you have in total and where they are.
This could be useful in several ways:
– It would remind you to adjust your portfolio accordingly based on your life circumstances. For instance, if you are not working currently like me, you need to hold more cash.
– This ensures that you are growing your wealth. My goal is to exceed $250k by 30 years old. Hence, keeping track of this keeps me accountable towards this goal
I understand that some may also count amount they have put into their mortgage as part of their asset allocation. In this template, I did not do so but you are free to modify this if you want.
Reason being, I am thinking about staying in my current home forever and not sell it. If that happens, I will not be able to cash out on my current house.
2) Monthly savings and expenses
The second sheet is dedicated to your take-home pay after CPF and how you are spending every month.
You can use this spreadsheet to keep track of your monthly expenses and the specific percentage you are able to save from your take-home salary.
I’ve created two
A method which has worked well for me in helping me save more is the “pay yourself first” method.
That means automatically routing your specified savings contribution from each paycheck at the time it is received. The idea is to prioritize savings over expenses. Your savings and investments are paid first, so you’re forced to actually “live” on the rest.
For illustration purposes, the above is an example of how to allocate your money each month. Hopefully, it would give you an idea on how you can manage your cash flow.
For daily expense tracking, you may also wish to use the Seedly Personal Finance App. It syncs and imports transactions automatically from DBS, POSB, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered, Citibank, American Express (AMEX) banks and credit cards.
3) Your Insurance Portfolio
Insurance in its simplest definition is simply a protection from some form of financial loss.
The idea of this section is to help you consolidate all the insurance policies you have and premiums you are paying in a single sheet. After which, you can reach out to a financial advisor to understand the gaps.
If you would like a non-biased viewpoint, you may wish to approach MoneyOwl.
Their agents do not make commissions and are best placed to advise on you which is really the best step forward for you and to help you optimize your policies allocation (cost vs coverage). My contact from there is Shawn Lee and he is really helpful and knowledgeable.
If you’re interested in the type of insurance you require as a young working adult, you can refer to this guide by Seedly. In summary, healthcare insurance (Hospitalisation and Surgical) should be your top priority.
This is followed by Term Insurance. For men who served national service, you will most definitely be covered by the AVIVA group term insurance. You should NOT cancel this amazing deal you earned for serving the nation.
4) Income Tax Relief
There are some ways which you will be able to reduce your income taxes in Singapore.
You can use this spreadsheet to keep track of the items you need to do to reduce your income tax throughout the year, whether you have done them and how much relief you would be getting.
For instance, if you had transferred $7000 cash into your CPF special account, that means you have qualified for the CPF Cash-top-up relief and can mark the item as completed as well as indicate $7000 under how much relief you will be getting.
For a guide on how income tax works and what you can do to reduce your income tax, please check out this guide by Dollars & Sense here.
Finally, I feel that in one’s 20s and 30s, it is actually the best time for you to accelerate your career and grow your income.
There are two views which I am showing in this spreadsheet:
Monthly view: Income does not only refer to your base salary but also commission and bonuses. Thus, I also included a monthly breakdown instead of just annual breakdown, so that you will be able to calculate your bonuses or commissions too.
Annual view: This is to ensure you are improving your income every 1-2 years to beat inflation, and that you’re growing in your career.
If you find that you are not growing your income, that means your real income has actually decreased due to inflation. This means that you are doing the same work for lesser pay! Hence, you may wish to either aim for a promotion or switch companies for a pay raise.
I hope that you will find this sheet useful. If you do, please download it here and share this with your peers as well. 🙂
Should you have any suggestions on how this spreadsheet can be improved, please let me know so that I can make the necesssary adjutsments.
Have a. wonderful December and all the best to your 2019!