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.”
After all, if you are trying to achieve a goal, the more often that you monitor your progress, the greater the likelihood that you will succeed.
If your goal for this year 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. 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; hold yourself accountable and feel motivated to improve.
I would highly recommend that you spend some time to fill up this sheet. 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.
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 the 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.
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 colours to classify your expenses – dividing them into both “needs” and “wants”. This is so that when you are spending more than you should, you can revisit this to find out where to cut your expenses from.
A method that 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 of how you can manage your cash flow.
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 this, 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).
If you would like to understand what type of insurance you should get as a working adult, do refer to this article.
4) Income Tax Relief
There are some ways that 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.
If you are in your 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.