Getting Organized

5 Steps to Money Mastery

These five steps can help you organize your finances

5 Steps to Money Mastery

Is your bank account in disarray? It's time to start organizing your money with the same care you give your DVR queue. The more you plan, the less daunting the phrase "financial management" will seem. Promise.

1. Make a List of Your Accounts

Take stock—develop a list of every account you own. That means checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, that store charge card from 10 years ago that never got closed—it should all be recorded in one central location.

2. List Out Your Current Debt

List out your current debts and the interest rates associated with each debt. Consider all the debt you've got going on: student loans, car loans, credit cards.

Tip: Knowing your credit score will help you understand why your interest rates are what they are.

3. Pick One Debt That You Want to Pay Off First

Look at not only the biggest debt, but also the affiliated interest rates. Which number looks the scariest? That's the one to prioritize. Figure out what you can realistically afford to pay toward one priority debt each month, and commit to paying the monthly minimum on all others until the big guy is paid in full. How long will that take? Ask our calculator.

If you're looking to make some headway with your credit card debt, think about transferring your balances to a credit card with a low intro rate.

4. Set a Savings Goal

Write down one thing you want to save for and set a savings goal. Make a simple, tangible goal (which should be starting an emergency fund if you don't already have one). Our calculator can help you make sense of your target and your savings progress so you can decide how to bridge the gap between the two.

5. Calculate Your Net Worth

Calculate your net worth by subtracting your debt from your account balances. Look at all you have against everything you owe for a better sense of the shape you're in.

Know Thy Money

Learn how to manage debt and keep your budget in check.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.