Visualize Your Accounts Using a Money Map

Knowing your financial metrics is extremely important. It’s what lets you gauge if you’re on the right track or if you need to make some changes. We track net worth, income, expenses, and other things using Personal Capital.

But, for all of its awesomeness, it’s missing one key component: the actual structure of how money flows in and out of our lives.

Enter the Money Map. A Money Map is like a treasure map of your finances. It outlines how all the money in your life comes in, and where exactly it all goes. It’s a visual representation of your accounts, and can help you picture what things might be broken and what’s working out well.

Our Money Map

As we’re combining finances later this year (it’d have been a hassle to do before we close on the house), we went through the exercise of creating our Money Map. Since we’re using mostly accounts I had previously set up, this was an extremely helpful exercise for Kristin particularly.

Working on the Money Map together brings up good conversations, and makes sure that our account structures support our goals and values.

Without further ado, here is our Money Map:

The Married with Money Money Map
The Married with Money Money Map

Follow The Money: Kristin’s Cash

So, what’s going on here? Well it is actually pretty easy. Let’s start with Kristin’s paycheck. First, we take 10% out immediately for her ESPP. We will end up selling this at some point, which we’ll use to fund other random things. IRA’s, and other investment opportunities in particular will be our focus to start.

We also cut out enough of her paycheck to max her 401(k) – we aren’t there yet but we’re working on it. Anything remaining after that gets dropped into our Hybrid Emergency Fund. We’ll top that at 3 months of expenses and an additional six in an investment account at Fidelity.

We also have additional savings goals for a vacation, what I’m calling an “opportunity fund”, and a new car at some point. Our opportunity fund will essentially sit until we find something we want to invest in, like potentially real estate. Until then, it’ll remain safe. We may decide to use it to pay off a chunk of our mortgage, too.

We’ll also keep a checking account at Chase for Kristin to do have her fun money at.

Follow the Money: Dave’s Dough

There’s still a lot of boxes left on our map – that’s where my income comes in. I have an HSA through work which I max out, and I am currently putting in 8% of my income toward my 401(k). I expect to raise this over time as we become more comfortable with our cashflow, but I’m keeping it relatively low for now. My 401(k) has high fees – thanks Personal Capital for shining light on that.

The rest of my money goes into our savings account, and then our spending money flows out of that into checking each month. From there we pay all of our bills, including a bit extra at our mortgage. I have some fun money as well which I’ll keep in a separate account at Capital One 360.

This arrangement effectively lets us live off of one income, which is our goal.

Not One and Done

While creating our map was a great exercise, it isn’t really a one-and-done thing. As we change jobs, open new accounts and close existing ones, our Money Map will need to be updated. I plan on revisiting this at least once a year, if not quarterly.

Creating and updating your Money Map in something like Excel (Google Sheets) or Power Point (Google Slides) is easy and can be helpful to shed some light on how money flows in and out of your life. If you don’t know how exactly money’s flowing, going through this exercise will answer that for you.

Other Bloggers

Curious to see what other bloggers in the community did? Check out this chain gang:

There are more that aren’t in this chain gang but, honestly, finding and listing ALL of them seems excessive for this list…

Question:

Have you created your Money Map? What other tools do you use to help visualize your financial landscape?

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6 Comments

    1. As a process consultant in my day job, I get a bit geeky about this. Honestly this was thrown together super quickly and isn’t as organized and color-coded as I’d like. But it does the job! 🙂

  1. I like your map! It’s very clear and concise and I think it’s perfectly colour coded. Also like the alliteration with “Dave’s Dough” and “Kristin’s Cash” lol 🙂 It sounds like you two have joint accounts and also separate accounts, am I right?

  2. Nice work! I especially love the chain of Chase credit cards. You know what you’re doing there, friend. 🙂

    I gotta check into CapitalOne 360. We see quite a few ppl with that account.

    1. Ally is another great alternative. I’ve been with CapOne for do long and too lazy to switch for such a minimal increase in interest income. And now they are the same on balances over 10k anyhow.

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