Tracking Where Your Money Goes With Sankey Diagrams

Sankey diagrams are a type of flow diagrams with differing widths of arrows that track where an initial amount goes.

They make for a great budget tool to see how your money ends up going. You can easily plug in your weekly or monthly expenses and paychecks or even put in your yearly W2 data to track our how your expenses and money have been going.

Sanekmatic.com is a great free tool to make your own charts.

Here is sample Sankey chart made using SankeyMatic:

Life Triangle – Work, Life, and Salary – it is your job to balance it

In the connect world today everyone looks so busy to in connecting these three dots called Work, Life, and Salary. To have a good life you need good salary and for getting the good salary you need to have a good job, which demands loads of time at work. If you spend loads of time at work, then where is time for life? Are you in a similar situation? Are you still running every day to connect these three dots? Not able to balance? Confused?

Don’t worry you are not only one with this problem, most of us get into this problem. The main reason is we focus on one goal and forget other. The mantra to achieve balance is knowing you. Pause the run of the life for some time and do deep thinking on what makes you happy? Absolutely there is no one answer.  Once you know the key to your happiness, you can prioritize the three dots to get the right balance.

If you don’t achieve the right balance it will lead to poor work-life balance which results in stress, unhappiness, and even reduced productivity. Here is a quick tip for achieving happiness by creating the right balance.

  • Spend time to understand yourself: pause your busy life sometimes and write answers for the key question of life Who I am? Do I know myself? What makes me happy? who I want to be?. Keep scribbling until you land on the stable and self-convincing answer. Remember there is no right or wrong answer, every answer is right until you are convinced.
  • Priorities the key goals of life: Once you know who you are and what makes you happy, you will understand pathway for happiness? What is your number one priority in life?
  • If you can’t track you can’t progress: As now you have understood where you need to be, it is equally important to get the correct measurement of where you are today. Start measuring the time you spend on different aspects of life. If you can’t measure you can’t improve. This is not your exam result, so no pass or fail, measure genuinely
  • Analyze and reschedule your days: Now you understand where you spend more time, start planning your day and assign more time to activity in the path of your balanced life. Nothing changes in one day, have discipline and dedication.
  • Have personal time: have some time blocked for yourself. Spending time with yourself is most important. Keep revisiting your goals and reprioritizing tasks. Remember no multi-tasking during your personal time.
  • Influencers: Understanding yourself and measuring yourself will let you understand key influencers.
    • Example less sleep leads to less productivity and more stress. Less productivity means more time you spend in the office. This cyclic process leads to poor performance and fewer chances of promotions or higher salary.
    • Health, as everyone says health is wealth, poor health leads to poor performance and poor work-life balance.
  • Social life is important: Build good friends circle, family relationships and dedicate time for your social life. You need to draw energy from society, end of the day you live in society, positive circle creates positive energy.

Finally, it is your life; you live the way it makes you happy. Never forget it is all about Life balance.

Save for the Days It Rains

An emergency by its very nature will strike at the most inopportune of moments. And the greatest fear that tags along with an emergency are the lack of funds. It is to overcome and be prepared for such unforeseen challenges that one should have a substantial amount of savings in place.

Warren Buffet had once famously quoted: “Savings in not what is left after you spent on your needs but it is the first investment you make before you spend on anything else.”

In today’s time of financial uncertainty and extreme competition, health and wealth are both victims. And after a point in time, there comes a situation where falling back on reserves, however unwise that would be, become a necessity. Let us list a few of them to see why people need and emergency fund or in other words, a saving.

  1. A loss of a job is a reality. Companies will restructure, downsize or maybe right size and the first casualty will be you. What would you do in that case? Jobs will never come on a platter and hence expecting one soon after you have lost one is simply wishful thinking. Also, even if you get one, there is no guarantee the salary currently drawn will be as attractive as the previous one.
  2. You or a family member has an illness. A debilitating one at that too. Where do you think you will have the funds to help you or the member get treatment? Also being too sick can make you lose your job. You would then be in a situation explained in point number 1. In addition to which the cost of treatment will add up.
  3. That property tax which you knew was under control for a long time has suddenly been raised. While previously budgeting for the taxes, you had never ensured some extra buffer for the future and now the future strikes back. It is again the savings which will come handy.
  4. You have been downsized and your hours rolled back. You are now a part time employee with very little cash in hand.
  5. An accident is a rude shock. Can happen to anyone of us at any time. Hence we call it an accident. The money needed for treatment needs to be saved from the beginning.

There is a myriad of reasons for people to start saving. The list is long and exhaustive.

If you haven’t started saving, this is the time.

Start now.

HSA: Guess Not Yet Time

Would the question rather be should you? Or would you? Now before we indulge in some plain talking, let us first know what HSA is all about.

What is HSA?

HSA or Health Savings Account, tax benefited medical savings account, which is available to taxpayers who are enrolled in an HDHP or High-deductible Health Plan. The funds invested in such an account will not attract Federal taxes at the time of deposit.

And now come back to the question, why shouldn’t we have an HSA?

Now let me be clear at the onset, that HSA does offer some great benefits and is not all bad. In fact, it should be a plan for the future for every young investor and savings aficionado. However, it really is not for everybody. Let us see the reasons:

  1. HSA needs time to have your funds build up. HSA is basically the combination of employees as well as the employer contributing towards that account, every payday. Now, given that kind of a rate and depending on the expense getting pulled out, it does take a fair amount of time for money to build up.
  2. Suddenly the drug prices begin to pinch. A $20 prescription drug can suddenly turn into a $120 behemoth. Now we know there is a reason for it but it usually is very confusing to understand the dynamics behind it all.
  3. The HDHP is named for a reason. High Deductible in an HSA is high. Period. Compared to most traditional health plans, the deductible here is absolutely in the north. The IRS has also asked for HSA plans to have a minimum family deductible of $2400. On the higher, this figure could touch $6500 for a maximum out of pocket payment of $12100. One look at the figure and you can understand that this entails a lot of cash in one go.
  4. One of the greatest reasons why HSA is not for everyone is primarily because of the confusion it creates. Now, as a rule, you can use your HSA card to pay for any 213(d) expense. There is a list of expenses which fall under the 213(d) expenses as per the schedule present in the IRS Code Section 213(d) Eligible Medical Expenses. The question is how many of us would actually know it. None carry a list and would probably ever do.
  5. As I had mentioned earlier, HSA has its fair share of advantages, but because of the lack of education, it becomes very difficult for most organizations to drive it among its employees. HAS does require a bit of self-research but when fully understood it does offer great benefits. Till such time, it would be an advice to look out for more traditional and simpler medical plans.

Why Shouldn’t I Use a Roth Ira as a Saving Account?

Investment account IRAs (Roth or Traditional), like other IRA items, are beneficial for a few people in specific situations. Somebody as of now said the amassing stage, holding up to develop the base beginning venture required for some common assets. Another awesome case would be money that is stopped, prepared to move without punishment, simply sitting tight for the correct venture openings, yet on which one needs an arrival and some kind of FDIC insurance while holding up.

Before the (practically) incomprehensible occurred in 2008- – amazing speculation banks (Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and so forth.) become bankrupt, Reserve Money Market Funds breaking the buck, TARP, Bernie Mad off- – the standard way of thinking was that exclusive the monetarily ignorant would need to keep any IRA cash in FDIC safeguarded accounts at banks. Now that we’re entering The Great Depression II, it can be one of the numerous reasonable decisions for those of us who still have cash cleared out. A 2% APR yield on a segment of one’s IRA resources amid market turmoil is greatly improved than a – 33% profit for the IRA portfolio.

Numerous speculations one can make outside an IRA can likewise be made inside an IRA. The trap is finding an organization that can help you make the ventures you need. A bank account isn’t generally proper for an IRA, nonetheless. In spite of the fact that it’s conceivable to pull back cash from your record under uncommon conditions, IRAs are intended for retirement, not for simple reserve get to henceforth it ought not to be utilized as a sparing record from where you can pull back sum according to your necessities now and again.

One ought to dependably imagine that it is the retirement finance which he had put something aside for harder circumstance when one begins their life after retirement. This sum is spared essentially for the different costs which is borne by different medicinal conditions and individual needs consequently sparing the piece of IRA can make mess at the later phase of your life.

One ought to want to proceed with the IRA and ought not to consider withdrawal till the person had accomplished superannuate, as the sum spared can truly be utilized when one gets dismissal from the general population because of their maturity. Indeed, even after retirement one ought to attempt to put resources into a wide range of things- – conventional stocks and bonds, as well as land, private stock, assess liens, contracts with an IRA. The points of interest being that you get more prominent broadening and can put resources into things in which you are well known/accept with the possibility to develop your cash tax-exempt in the event that you utilize a Roth IRA. Obviously, there are principles you have to take after. Yet, on the off chance that you take after the tenets there are brilliant opportunities to run the show. Thus utilize your Roth IRA sum admirably and put resources into productive ventures as it were.