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Man writing a personal financial statementAssessing your financial situation can help you understand your options for creating a steadfast financial future. To outline your finances, a personal financial statement can provide an overview of your financial circumstances. With this in mind, here’s how a personal financial statement is used and how to create one for yourself. If you’d like hands-on guidance in creating a personal financial statement and using it to strategize your overall financial plan, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor.

What Is a Personal Financial Statement?

A personal financial statement (PFS) is a document or set of documents that outlines a person or family’s financial position. The balance sheet portion of a PFS exhibits your assets and liabilities, or net worth. Some people create more detailed personal financial statements, including an income statement or other documents.

A person should create a PFS if he wants to make financial plans. These statements are usually goal-oriented and can help individuals and families reach their financial objectives. They are especially important for young professionals who are just starting their financial journeys. If you’re new to financial planning, a PFS is a great place to start because it will help you understand your current position as well as your options for moving forward.

A PFS is often used when someone is taking out a personal loan. Lenders may ask a potential borrower to create a PFS to understand their debt to income ratio, which is a determining factor in the interest rate and amount that the borrower will receive.

What to Include in Your Personal Financial Statement

As previously mentioned, there are two core sections of any PFS. Here’s how each section can be defined:

  • Balance sheet. Your balance sheet will include all your assets and liabilities. This may include your home, mortgage, car, auto loan, taxes, savings accounts, investment accounts, credit card balances and more. Note that the balance sheet does not include cash flow but does include the total amounts due or the total value of each account.
  • Income statement. Your income statement will include your salary, bonuses and commissions. It may also include any dividends and interest earned, gig income or other income. It will also include your income taxes, insurance premiums and other steady cash outflows. This may include monthly paychecks, budget line items such as a monthly grocery bill and other monthly payments that detract from your monthly income.

What to Exclude from Your Personal Financial Statement

"PERSONAL FINANCES" Your PFS is broken down into assets and liabilities. However, there are several things that you will not include in your PFS.

If you own a business or have business-related assets and liabilities, they will not be included on your PFS unless you are directly responsible for the costs. An example of this is if you are taking out a personal loan for your business.

Additionally, anything rent is not included on a PFS, because the asset is not owned by the individual. An example of this is rent on office space. However, if you own office space and rent it out to someone else, the rent you collect is considered income and would be included in a personal financial statement.

Other things that are not included on a PFS include small personal property assets such as furniture and household goods. While they may be a large expense, they are not typically valuable enough to qualify as an asset.

Example of a Personal Financial Statement

Now that you understand what a personal financial statement is and why it’s important, let’s look at an example. Take, for example, Sam who is a young professional and wants to start planning for retirement. She has started saving with her company’s 401(k) match, purchased her first home and has a car that she loves. However, she wants to be sure that she is set up well for retirement, so her financial advisor has asked her to prepare a PFS to understand where she stands currently.

Sam’s home is worth $200,000, and the car she drives is worth $30,000. After several years of working hard, she has $60,000 in investments and 401(k) funds and she keeps about $5,000 in an emergency fund. Her assets total $295,000.

For liabilities, she owes $150,000 on her home, $10,000 on her car and she has about $3,000 in credit card debt. She pays the minimum balance or payment on each liability each month. Her liabilities total $163,000.

Her assets are worth $295,000 but she owes a total of $163,000. Therefore, when we subtract her liabilities from her assets, her net worth is $132,000.

The Bottom Line

coins, model car, calculator, notepad

A personal financial statement is a common starting point for people who are looking to invest or borrow money. It helps both the individual and the financial institution understand the person’s financial responsibility and what his or her options are moving forward.

If you need help finding a financial advisor, try our financial advisor matching tool. A financial advisor can help you make educated decisions regarding your assets, liabilities and wealth creation.

Tips for Building a Personal Financial Statement

  • Consider talking to a financial advisor about creating a personal financial statement. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool  can match you with up to three local financial advisors, and you can choose the one who is best for you. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • Part of getting your personal finances in order is to be aware of common misconceptions about the subject. Knowing the ones that appear most frequently will help you avoid such mistakes. If one of your personal financial goals is stability, be sure to follow the 10 most important steps to that goal.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/utah778, ©iStock.com/Ildo Frazao, ©iStock.com/sureeporn

Ashley Kilroy Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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