Understanding and Tracking Your Personal Finance Budget

A personal finance budget is a little different then the monthly budget you keep for tracing income and expenses. A finance budget tracks more then just monthly income and expenditures; it includes information about investments and retirement accounts. In other words it is more concerned with your long term financial future rather then the finances of daily life.

The approach to doing a financial budget is a little different then the personal variety. If you are a good mathematician or good at accounting then you can keep track of your financials on a piece of paper or a spread sheet you set up. For those who are less mathematically inclined using a software program for this type of budget is a good idea because it does all the math for you. Calculating financial budgets can be tricky, even for those who are experienced with them.

One place to start is with the investment company that takes care of your various financial accounts. They should have budgeting tools available to their customers that at the least let you keep track of how your investments are doing. If you do indeed have access to this information it is relatively easy to plug this data into an online financial budgeting tool. You can also take this same information and plug it into your own budgeting software or spreadsheets at home.

There quite a few comprehensive budgeting software packages available on the market today that do a good job of tracking personal finances. They can be used for just about everything related to personal finance such as paying bills, writing checks, making electronic transactions, tracking your personal bank accounts and handling your financial investments and planning. Quicken by Intuit and Microsoft Money are two examples that are well known and have a great reputation. There are different versions of these programs targeted at the different needs of the consumer. It pays to do a little research to get the version which will best suit your needs.

Most investment companies will also allow you to download your financial information directly from their website into your budgeting software. This makes tracking your financial performance very easy because the software takes care of everything. Even if you can’t do a direct download from the company’s website budgeting software makes it easy to manually input the figures from the financial statements you will receive in the mail.

Keeping track of your personal finance budget is important for several reasons. One is to make sure that any investing you are doing is not affecting your household budget. Another is to make sure any long-term investments being made are giving a good return and are not losing money. By taking an active role in your own personal finances your chances for a worry free financial future are much greater.