The New York Times' Financial Tuneup series has shaped up into a great resource for those looking for a place to get started with improving their personal finance situation. A post on self-diagnosing your financial health, in particular, asks some important questions.
We've previously posted the Times' weekday project proposal for taking a day off to save more money. Another good bit of advice, though, comes from the more long-term planning side of the equation. The Times asked professional financial planners to share the questions they ask of their clients, when setting up new plans and assessing where they're at, and where they want to go.
One sample question that anyone should make a habit of asking themselves:
Have your outlook or goals changed? Are you happy?
At its core, financial planning is not simply about money. It is about finding the best way to finance what you want out of life, whether that is spending more time with family and friends or travelling. And planners use their annual checkups to help clients make sure they are doing that.
"We encourage people to ask themselves what they can do to be happier and better off a year from now, whether that is saving more money, paying off debt, changing careers or doing more charitable work," said Dan Serra, a financial planner in Plano, Tex. "It's a mix of evaluating life and money."
A bit Dr Phil, yes, but worth thinking about when all the dollars, interest rates and percentages seem to pile up into a nonsensical mess — where are you actually trying to go with your money?
Read the post for more questions that you should regularly check in with yourself about, and post your own financial self-assessment tips and tools in the comments.