Leading groups into the Himalayas brought with it unforeseeable challenges, especially related to physical health. With sickness in a foreign country, you aren’t sure if it is what you ate, where you slept, or maybe even a spiritual battle. I’ve experienced sinus colds that presented as a bed-ridden, week-long illness. “Stomach bugs” that linger for months. And even a gluten intolerance that began and ended with my wife’s pregnancy. With a background in health sciences and experience in wilderness medicine, I always knew an individual’s vitals were essential to beginning to understand their overall well-being.
Managing your money overseas comes with all sorts of its own seemingly unidentifiable challenges. In your financial health, there are two tools that can be used to “assess vitals.” The financial statements provide a big picture view of your wealth well-being. Let’s look at those together.
Watch this short video (less than two minutes) to understand what a balance sheet is. I use an example of a married couple, but this is for both singles, couples, and families. Keep in mind this is created with a broad audience in mind. You may or may not own a house or other large items, but you still have assets and liabilities. After watching the video, download the template I’ve made for you and work on your own balance sheet.
Here is the template you can download. You’ll find an example on the first tab and your template on the second tab.
Statement of Income & Expenses
Next, we are going to look at creating a statement of income and expenses. Because your eyes might gloss over if you have to read a description, I’ve made another short video (less than two minutes) to help you see this tool in action.
Here is the template I’ve created for you to use both now and in the future.
Knowledge > Numbers
At a doctor’s office, assessments include your weight, height, blood pressure, and pulse. In a financial plan, a balance sheet and statement of income and expenses are vital to capturing a big picture view of your financial health. These financial statements alone are not intended to “treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure” your personal financial situation. What they can provide for you is a general overview of your overall financial health. At this point, it is less about what numbers you arrive at and more about the knowledge you gain. What do I have versus what do I owe? Am I spending more than I am earning? Am I on track to reach my financial goals?
While simple, these questions are the bedrock of any financial plan.
Were the videos helpful? How do you track your finances?
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The thoughts and opinions shared in this article are for general information and thought provocation only, and do not take into consideration your personal financial circumstances. I am not a financial, investment or tax professional, but someone who wishes to share what I’ve learned through managing finances as a cross-cultural worker. For professional financial advice, please consult a licensed professional.