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Mid-Year Money Metrics

July 2024

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, AFC®
Distinguished Professor and Extension Financial Management Specialist Emeritus
Rutgers Cooperative Extension

We're halfway through 2024, which makes July a good time to do a mid-year financial check-up to inform "tweaks" for the remainder of the year. Below are 14 money metrics to use to assess your financial status:

Net Worth- Net worth is total assets minus total debts. Review financial statements, make a calculation, and compare it with your last net worth number. Ideally, assets will have grown and debts decreased.

Income Analysis- This is a total of year-to-date income with a breakdown of different income sources (e.g., job, side hustle, interest on savings). If income has changed significantly, make adjustments to your budget.

Expense Tracking- This entails reviewing expenses year-to-date, using a checkbook, apps, or other tools, and categorizing them (e.g., food, housing, gas). If expenses have changed, adjust your budget accordingly.

Emergency Fund Status- Financial experts recommend at least three months expenses set aside in liquid accounts (e.g., savings account, money market fund). If you have less than this, make a plan to increase savings.

Credit Score- Many people can see their credit score for free via their credit card issuer or financial institution. Compare your FICO credit score, with a range of 300 (worst) to 850 (best), to the last time you checked it.

Retirement Account Review- Three things to note are year-to date contributions, the total balance in all retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k), IRA), and the asset allocation weights for stocks, bonds, etc. in the accounts.

Investment Performance- Reviewing the year-to-date return on your portfolio involves accessing data about the performance of individual investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds.

Tax Withholding- Paystubs and copies of first and second quarter estimated tax payments will indicate your year-to-date withholding amount. If income has changed significantly, make adjustments to tax withholding.

Insurance Coverage- A licensed insurance professional can help you review auto, homeowners/renters, life, health, and disability policies. The goal is to pay the lowest premium possible without sacrificing coverage.

Estate Planning- An up-to-date estate plan is critical. Many people have more free time in the summer to review legal documents, complete a review of beneficiary (PDF) designations, and prepare a digital assets (PDF) inventory.

Charitable Giving Inventory- Interesting insights can be gleaned by totaling charitable donations year-to-date and the percentage of income donated. Use this worksheet (PDF) to plan contributions for the remainder of the year.

Health Care Expenses- This is especially important with health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Total healthcare costs year-to-date and make plans to adjust savings and use HSA/FSA funds.

Home Equity- Real estate prices have mostly risen lately. Get a free comparative market analysis or check recent local home sales to estimate your home's value. Then subtract your mortgage/home equity loan balance.

Major Expenses- It helps to make plans for anticipated "big-ticket" expenses for the second half of the year. With this information, you can develop savings or savings withdrawal plans for these expenses.

Additional strategies for mid-year financial improvement can be found in this previous Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ message.