Happy Independence Day (readers in the United States.) This week you may have already seen a lot of bloggers to write about financial independence. I thought about writing on the topic, but I found myself gravitating to a question of general financial health.
There are a lot of pieces to your overall financial picture. I often look at net worth as it’s a good measure of your overall financial health. However there are a lot of other pieces that factor in. For example, there are credit scores, insurance coverage, retirement funds, retirement planning, and liquidity (such as an emergency fund), and estate planning.
Even after making that list, I’m thinking about other things that I immediately forgot like credit card rewards, identity theft protection, career growth, and real estate.
It feels like all these things are swirling around in a “financial hurricane.”
I can organize a lot of with spreadsheets, but it’s very difficult to get the big picture. When in doubt, I just make what seems to the best decision, which has generally worked out well.
My Financial Blueprint
So today I wanted to stop and think about how all these pieces of the financial fit together. I’m going to need your feedback and thoughts on this because mapping an entire financial picture isn’t easy. Also, I can almost guarantee you’ll have different thoughts and ideas than I do. I’m certainly not married to these number myself:
Net Worth – 20%
This might be low for what I consider the most important financial number. However, since I’ve got a lot of areas to cover, I need to save some room. When I think of net worth, I don’t look at it as a single number. I think about it in terms of age and the cost of living in an area. Having a 250K at age 25 is amazing. It’s much less amazing at age 60. Similarly that 250K means a lot more in Phuket, Thailand than it does in New York City.
In short, context matters.
Retirement Preparedness – 20%
There’s likely some overlap between this number and net worth. For us, our retirement accounts are about 55% of our net worth. So while that net worth percentage above may seem a little low, there’s some of it baked into this category.
I think this category is largely about having a healthy amount whatever retirement accounts are available to you. For most people, that’s their 401k and Roth IRA.
Emergency Fund – 15%
It’s great to be prepared for retirement, but what about now? How prepared are you for a job loss, car repairs, or a big health bill? I could go on, but I think most everyone reading personal finance blogs understands the value of having liquid cash.
Usually an emergency fund is measured in months of expenses rather than straight dollars.
Insurance – 15%
Do you have car, house, life, umbrella, and/or any insurances you may need to protect your income? Protecting your financial behind is important.
Money Ratios – 10%
Which money ratios are important? My friend Jim from Wallet Hacks has a list of seven important money ratios. While some of them overlap the above, not all of them do. There are some about investing, debt, housing, etc. I’ve been meaning to write about some of my favorites for some time. In the meantime, let me know some of your favorites in the comments.
I was on the fence about adding this one. It should be obviously which side I ended up on.
Ultimately, I decided to add this because I think some ratios give you a good view into your current finances. I could have a high net worth, but if I buy a huge mansion, it doesn’t bode well for my future financial health, right?
Credit Score – 10%
Your credit score can be very important… especially if you plan on buying that mansion. Having an excellent credit score qualified us for the very best mortgage and car rates and it’s saved us tens of thousands of real dollars.
Estate Planning- 10%
Do you have a will? Do you have a trust? These things are often difficult to talk about because they involve thinking about death. However, they are important.
For me, one of the big questions I have is, “What becomes of Lazy Man and Money if I die tomorrow?” My wife has no interest in learning how to blog. Maybe in 10-15 years, my kids will be interested in blogging on the site.
I don’t know if I could possibly more wishy-washy than I have been, but I do want to emphasize that these are my initial thoughts. I’m sure I didn’t cover everything and the percentages I gave are hardly based on any kind of scientific theory.
What makes up your financial blueprint? Let me know in the comments.