Most people will quite literally earn millions of dollars in their lifetime. Yet many people struggle financially and live from one pay period to the next.
With the ageing population and many Baby Boomers now continuing to work—at least on a part-time basis—past the traditional retirement age, people are working more years than ever. Even if a person works only 40 years, at average earnings, that’s a lot of money.
It is said, “Money talks”, but for many, all it ever says is, “Good-bye”.
Have you ever found that the month lasts longer than the money? Or have you ever got your tax return and looked at all the money you have earned over the past 12 months and then thought, “Where has it all gone?”
You’re not alone. And the good news is, now there’s a simple solution.
Financial happiness vs financial misery
There’s a great quote from Charles Dickens’ book David Copperfield where the character Mr. Micawber says to Copperfield, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
This is so true, regardless of the income level.
Tracking your spending
Yet keeping track of what you spend your money on, for many, is too hard, too laborious. The benefits of doing so are obvious to anyone, yet the discipline to keep all your receipts, enter the information into a program like Quicken or Microsoft Money (or just to write it into a paper ledger), and keep that going consistently over time is beyond many of us.
Well—and here’s the good news—what if a piece of software could track and classify what you spent your money on, but it involved very little effort by you?
An eye opener
Imagine the clarity you’d get if you knew exactly how much you have spent and what percentage of your income is going on the various areas including mortgage/rent, vehicles, groceries, schooling/education, eating out, entertaining, mobile phones and internet, medical and pharmaceutical, and so on.
For most people, it would be a real eye opener.
It is said that knowledge equals power.
That is very true when it comes to your personal finances.
Once you can objectively see exactly how your lifestyle and your habits—that is, you—are spending your money each year, and month-to-month as you go, you then have the power to make decisions on where you can change your spending (and saving!) habits.
In this information age and electronic era, many of us use credit cards, debit cards and EFT when buying things. We have reached a point in history where more money is exchanged electronically than through cash transactions.
That’s a lot of transactions. And it’s a lot of data.
This data is available to be assessed on a societal basis, industry basis, business basis and … a personal basis.
And that’s where a brilliant tool comes into play: Xero Cashbook
How Xero Cashbook works
Xero Cashbook is online software. It’s the non-tax-tracking version of the Xero software used by businesses.
It automatically imports all your electronic transactions via bank feeds to give you a snapshot of your complete financial position in an instant. This also gives you a view of all your bank accounts and credit card accounts in one place. Very handy.
This is precisely what a lot of people have been waiting for: An easy way to track and control your finances.
Xero Cashbook assigns categories to your spending and saving, so you can tell whether your money is being used for essentials or you’re splashing out on other things.
If you are concerned about security, Xero protects your financial data with 128-bit SSL encryption, the same as online banking. Your data is well protected.
You can also invite people you trust, such as your spouse, accountant or other financial advisor, to access your Xero reports for free. This means that as your advisors we can see the true picture of your finances and spending habits, and help you stay on track.
This allows us to help you plan ahead and make the most of your money.
You will never before have felt so in control of your personal finances.
Connect Xero to Dext Prepare (formerly called Receipt Bank)
In a previous article about better ways of managing your receipts, we introduced you to ReceiptBank (which recently changed its name to Dext Prepare). For best efficiency, you can connect your Xero Cashbook to Dext Prepare as explained here. This will make sure that your receipts, invoices and other paperwork are automatically extracted and formatted perfectly for your streamlined financial processes in your business.
Access from anywhere
Being web-based, rather than being stuck on one computer like traditional desktop software, you can access Xero from home, work and even on your smartphone such as an iPhone and Android device.
If you’d like us to step you through getting set up with Xero Cashbook, or their Xero equivalent for Business, or both, get in touch and we’ll hand hold you through the process. It’s not difficult, and once your bank accounts are set up, it happens automatically from there.
The way we see it, the more clients we help keep track of their finances in such an easy way, the more clients who will prosper and find financial happiness instead of financial misery, to paraphrase Dickens’ Mr. Micawber.
Your next step
Get in touch with us to make time to meet and discuss your options. It’s time to stop saying “good-bye” to so much of your money each year!