If you are like most people, chances are you have spent more hours playing the high-finance and real-estate game of Monopoly than you have in seriously analyzing your own REALLIFE financial situation. Here's a good way to check up on your financial picture.
IT'S AMAZING how many people can spend endless hours enjoying the thrill of vicarious financial adventure — perhaps even winning — while their own personal financial ships are rapidly sinking. Unfortunately, winning at Monopoly is small consolation for losing the more serious game of personal financial management! This article is aimed at helping you spend some profitable time examining your personal "monopoly" — your home, your family, and your very real financial picture. Your "empire." Because in the true-to-life game of monopoly we play every day, the stakes are much higher — and win or lose, the game is "for keeps." Best of all, the real game, if played properly, can be much more exciting and challenging. If you're careful, diligent, and follow all the rules, you can't help but win!
Are You Fiscally Fit?
To assist you in winning this game, we have provided on the following page a personal work sheet for your own financial self-analysis. Like the Annual Statement of a corporation, it is designed to measure your financial soundness. Think of it as a "financial checkup" or a "fiscal physical." Fill it out. Find out where you stand. Only by realistically evaluating your present financial picture can you ever hope to improve your future one. So Part I of this form is designed to help you see where you stand on a monthly basis. It compares monthly expenses with monthly income. Surprisingly, many people don't know whether they are getting further ahead or further behind as the months go by. Part II of the form will give you a picture of your net worth. Like the balance sheet of a corporate financial statement, it will compare your total assets with total liabilities. As Ben Franklin put it, "A small leak can sink a great ship." But by putting your finances down in black and white, you will be able to eliminate guesswork and be able to locate for more profitable use that "extra, where did it go?" money you never seem able to account for. Accurate knowledge of where your money is going, and a realistic picture of your net worth, is a vital step to financial security. Then you can stop unnecessary spending and waste, and become an organized and efficient manager of your money.
A Biblical Principle
We are instructed in the book of Proverbs: "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds" (Prov. 27:23). It is this kind of a disciplined and knowledgeable control of our financial situations that can make the difference between always "just getting by" and actually attaining the financial goals we have set for ourselves. Again, the Proverbs counsel us: "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established [well ordered and well considered)" (Prov. 4:26). Organizing your personal finances can be fun and rewarding. It will bring a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. It can help influence your children to spend their money intelligently. And it can provide the extra money for those more important things in life you may be neglecting or having to put off Statistics reveal that few people have ever really taken the time to organize and control their personal spending habits. Most people don't plan to fail. They just fail to plan. Too many people — the vast majority, in fact — have only dreamed of financial security, but they have never taken the steps necessary to attain it. What will you do to make your future the exception and not the rule? All financial experts will agree that you don't have to be a monetary genius to make your money do more. It is through learning, organizing and diligent effort that you find practical and effective ways to get the most value for the money you spend. This is all the more important as inflation continues to spiral upwards and many of our currencies become worth less and less. During the last several years, as chronic inflation has been getting more and more out of hand, many helpful books have appeared which give sound and practical ideas for improving the purchasing power of your money. Many of these are in paperback — check your local bookstore. We hope this "financial physical" will inspire you to develop a knowledgeable approach to spending, provide a firm footing for a sound budget, and enable you to become more financially stable for the building of a happy, successful family life.