This first quarter of the year has gone by so fast. We’ve already stepped into the second quarter of the year and I’m excited to sit down and do my first quarterly financial review of the year.
I’ll be sharing my 5 step process of how I do my quarterly financial review. You can also duplicate my process as you do your quarter 1 financial review.
What is a personal financial review?
The difference between your quarterly review and the usual monthly budgeting is that your quarterly review will entail more than just budgeting for your income and checking on your expenses.
It involves reviewing your goals, your timelines, what you would have wanted to achieve in the first three months of the year and just checking in with yourself if you’re where you wanted to be by this time of the year.
It’s also an opportunity for you to see if you’re on track with the goals that are going to take more than the first 3 months of the year.
It’s a more in-depth look at your finances.
One of the main reasons why I love doing quarterly reviews of my goals is because I’m able to catch myself early enough in the year. In case I went off the rails in the first quarter, I’m able to know soon enough.
One thing I advocate for is taking yourself out for a money date as you do your financial reviews. Make it a big deal. You only get to do this only 4 times a year. You will start to notice some improvements in your relationship with money
The 5 steps I take to do my quarterly financial review.
1. Gather all your financial statements.
You cannot do your financial review from head memory.
You need to have a statement of your account balances, and any savings or investments that you currently have. This is important especially if you are investing your money where it is gaining interest. You’ll be able to see from the statements whether your money has been growing in the past 3 months, whether it’s been earning interest and whether the interest amount is the rate that the company promised to give you for your investment.
You also need to get statements for the debts that are tied to you whether from your bank or your Sacco. Most financial institutions will send you your statements at the end of every month. You need to know what is happening in your accounts.
With these statements, you will get to have a summary of what is in your account balances, your savings and investment and all the debt that you have.
Also, if you track your finances, this is when you export your information on how your spending was over the 3 months.
Here’s the app I use to track my daily spending with instructions on how to use it.
2. Check for the effects of inflation on your current savings and investments.
This is a step I’ve adapted recently that I never used to do before. We are currently in a period of recession and the inflation rates are off the roof.
Here’s how inflation affects your savings. If let’s say inflation rates right now are 8%, it means that the cost of living is also going up by 8% and the purchasing power of your money is depreciating by 8%.
If your money is in a current bank account where it’s earning no interest, it means at the end of the year, your money has grown by 0% yet inflation has gone up by 8%. Meaning that the purchasing power of this money that you had in your account, uninvested has depreciated by 8%. Ideally, you are 8% poorer at the end of the year.
If you save in a traditional bank savings account that gives you 5% interest, yes your money will have grown but inflation has also grown by a higher percentage than the 5% you gained. You’re still not being well compensated for inflation.
As part of your quarterly financial review, this is one step that you need to consider. Find out if the company where you primarily store your money whether you’re getting a return that compensates you for inflation.
3. Do a thorough edit of your income and expenses for the last 3 months.
If you have one source of income, this is much easier since you’ll just be auditing based on your paycheck. List all your sources of income including your business income, side hustles income, per diems, and allowances.
Note down all the money that came in to have a clear picture of how much money passed through your hands in the previous quarter of the year. Once you’ve listed down all the income, you need to account for how that income was spent by auditing your expenses.
4. Set goals for the next quarter using the data from the audit you just did.
In this next step, you need to allow the data you have collected from the audit you just did to inform your goals for quarter 2.
From your audit, you could have realized that where you’d saved your money, it’s gaining very little interest and you’re not being compensated for inflation. Now one of the goals you could set for quarter 2 is to identify alternative places to save or invest your money that will compensate you for inflation.
From the audit, you could also realize that in quarter 1 you splurged on entertainment or you find that you cannot account for how much you spent on entertainment. A goal you can set for yourself is to be more intentional with your finances and hold yourself accountable. You could do this by tracking your finances using a spreadsheet or the money manager app.
Set what you want your money to do for you in the next few months.
5. Reflect these goals on your monthly budget.
After you’ve set your goals, you now need to reflect them on your budget. If you’ve set a goal to put 5K on your money market fund each month, put that down on your budget. If you’ve set out to spend less on entertainment, let that reflect on your budget.
You have to ensure that each goal that you’ve set for yourself is reflected in your personal budget.
Conducting a quarterly financial review is a crucial step in managing your finances effectively. By following the five steps I’ve outlined in this blog post, you can assess your progress towards your financial goals, identify areas where you can improve, and make informed decisions about your spending and saving habits.
By taking charge of your finances and staying on top of your financial situation, you can pave the way for a more secure and prosperous future. This is a way to honor yourself and to honor your goals. If you don’t do this for yourself, no one will do it for you.
Remember to get the budget tracker which will be very instrumental in your next quarterly financial review.