What is Personal Finance and What is the Best Way to Make it Work For You?


Personal finance is basically the implementation of the idea of finance onto you and your family’s monetary decisions. It will help you address the processes by which you can budget, save and spend cash over time. It also takes in account various financial risks and probable and possible future events. Personal finance pretty much covers any area where your money is saved or spent and any possible future savings and expenditure. As such it covers all or some of the following: current and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, stocks and shares, retirement and pension arrangements, benefits, insurance and assurance policies tax management as well as day to day expenditure.

The basic aspect of financial planning is the self-assessment of your finances. Anyone can do this but depending on your resources you can elect this to be done by your financial adviser. If you do chose this route ensure that you thoroughly check your agent’s background and make confirm that he or his company are regulated and compliant with FSA (Financial Services Authority) regulations.

If you decide to assess your own finances then you will need to draw up a balance sheet and income statement. The balance sheet lists the values of your assets (house, car, jewellery, accounts, savings, etc.) as well as liabilities (credit cards, loans and mortgage). The income statement is just a list of your earnings from all sources – regular, irregular, etc.

Having done this basic work you should then set yourself a realistic goal – pay off all credit cards in 2 years; arrange a mortgage that costs no more than 30% of your post tax income; invest 5% of income in an ISA every year etc. The goals can be long term or short term and you can elect to have more than one goal at a time.

The next step is implementation – the targets you have set should have been realistic and thus the steps needed to reach them should be manageable. Perhaps a minor reduction in expenditure – say only go out once a week – can save you enough money to pay off a small loan. At the other end of the scale you may set yourself the goal of getting a new job or moving house to release equity.

The most important thing to remember here is that once the plan is set you will need to be disciplined and stick to it – if you did set yourself realistic targets this will be achievable. If your situation changes however you may want to change the plan – it is thus vital that you monitor it and make readjustments as the situation requires.