Take a Financial Inventory

Find out what you own and what you owe, then track where your money goes.

Notepad with Check List
(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you're on top of your regular income and outgo, then maybe you can safely skip this section. But if you're barely making it from payday to payday or have the distinct feeling that you're treading water while others swim merrily by, then here is where you'll find the means to get moving.

One thing you need to do is take a financial inventory. That means sorting out the money and other assets that are all yours from those that someone else has a claim on -- in other words, finding out what you own and what you owe. You add up the value of everything you own, then you subtract from it the total of all your debts. The result is your net worth.

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