Where ARE We?!?!
Have you ever planned a big family trip? Bonus points if it’s a road trip? Double bonus points if this road trip involved people coming from different parts of the country.
Now if it involved camping in an entirely new place like say Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado, you’ll understand the following.
Things were not going 100% as planned. Routes mapped out by GPS did not match the large paper atlas others in the group were consulting. We located a farm-to-table place where kids (and adults who are we kidding) could run wild in a grassy field and pet farm animals while eating suspiciously fresh burgers.
The point is that while we were stopped, we discovered that some of were navigating to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and others were bull headedly heading to the town of Gunnison. Locals had to break this news to us because my phone was giving me the ‘no service loser’ message.
Tourist Tip: If you stand on top of a picnic table at the James Ranch Grill waving a phone in the air trying to get a signal yelling “THERE IS NO YOU ARE HERE ON THAT MAP” while others in the group try to figure out how to get a football out of a tree that has a “do not climb tree” sign on it…a local will appear to figure out what the excitement is about.
You see where this is going right?
To know how to get to where you’re going, you really have to know where you are.
NOTE: Don’t even worry about how you got here, that’s not important. At the moment, where you want to end up isn’t even priority #1. You just need to determine where you are now.
Step 1: Find Your Starting Point
- Start with the pluses, make a list of all of your assets and today’s balance; checking accounts, savings account, 401(k), IRA, money market, secret slush fund of stocks at an online broker…everything you can think of. Did you include your HSA? That counts, add that.
- If you have a hobby or something of value that you could sell, include it in the other asset area. For example, I have an old coin collection and from time to time pieces make their way onto ebay.
- Less Fun: Now add up everything you owe and the current balance.
- Bonus: Hunt down the blue book value of your property and the total due.
Congratulations – you are on your way –
We have our starting point, the “you are here” for your financial map.