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The seventh step in becoming financially literate is to understand the importance of tracking, which is all-encompassing.  You will need to track your financial plan, your savings, your investing, spending, and giving and controlling debt.  One of the most important tracking tools to maintain is your budget. 


Tracking can improve your finances.  67% of Americans don’t have a budget.  This lack of fiscal management is the reason why 1 in 5 Americans don’t have $5k saved for retirement and 70% of Americans don’t have $1k in savings.  These stats are scary, so let’s develop a financial plan to help track our progress. 


Your household operates just like a business; therefore, someone must oversee maintaining financial statements. This is like your balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.  


Tracking your finances will let you know if your budget is balanced, in surplus, or in deficit.  Also, you need to know your net worth and whether it is increasing or decreasing.  Also, as important, is the close monitoring of your credit report/score.  You must understand why your score is increasing and decreasing.  At a bare minimum, you should check your report and score monthly.  This is made possible today by the likes of Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. 


With today’s technology tracking your financial status is much easier. 


The following tracking tools can be very useful. 

For Budgets:

  • Mint

  • PocketGuard

  • Goodbudget

  • Personal Capital

  • You can create your own budget using Microsoft Excel


​For Credit Monitoring:

  • Credit Karma

  • Credit Sesame

  • Annual Credit Report


To Track Spending:

  • Bank statements

  • Credit card statements


To Track Investments:

  • Monthly, quarterly, and annual statements


The key to successful tracking is consistency.   With practice, this process becomes easier and faster to maintain. Operating within your budget, visually confirming your net worth growth, and knowing your credit score will give you confidence, motivation, and a sense of security.

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