Six Basic Tips on Writing a Financial Analysis Paper

Why do students learn to write a financial analysis paper? This assignment helps students improve their knowledge about the structure of every company. If they decide to found their own firm, they should know how to manage its financial health. This knowledge is vital for investors too. If they analyze the financial condition of the specific company correctly, they will be able to invest in this company without any negative consequences. If you devote your money to a venture, you should know whether it is safe and reliable. A professional financial analysis is able to display the actual financial condition of the particular company. If you want to learn how to complete a factual financial analysis paper, dwell on these basic writing tips.

Tip #1: Analyze the Existing Financial Statements

The foremost duty of everyone who wants to cope with a detailed financial analysis is to obtain financial statements. If you analyze a specific company suggested by the teacher, you can find its financial statements in the Internet or in the definite books on business and accounting. If you are ambitious to research a completely different firm, you can receive these documents directly from its owner. Of course, this job is often complicated. Nevertheless, if you have had your practice at the chosen company, you can receive at least several financial statements devoted to the certain period in the past. There is hardly a boss who will supply you with the relevant information of this kind. Bear in mind that a financial statement is a complex document that embraces numerous minor documents, like a balance sheet, an income statement, an equity statement and a cash flow statement. You will have to look through and analyze every document in order to complete a full financial analysis paper

Tip #2: Look over a Balance Sheet

A balance sheet is the document that demonstrates the balance between such elements as assets, liabilities and owner’s equity. This balance is paramount for the objective survey of the specific firm. You should know about its assets and debts. Moreover, you ought to examine the shareholder equity. It is smart to pay attention to any shifts in this balance in order to find the weak sides of the company. It is a bad signal when a company loses its assets and increases its debt without any objective reasons.

Tip #3: Inspect an Income Statement

This statement shows the income and loss of a company’s capital. A common successful company has a tendency of the gradual increase of its income indicator. When you notice the reduction of the firm’s revenue, it means that it is close to crisis and bankruptcy. Such firms are unreliable and require reorganization and alteration of their business strategy.

Tip #4: Observe a Statement of Changes in Equity

This statement concentrates on the analysis of the changes that have occurred within the shareholder’s equity. It is vital to know whether a company purchases new stocks or not. It can illustrate its future plans for the further development. The owner’s equity can be measured in the easiest way. You ought to subtract the liabilities from the assets. If the sum of the equity is gradually reducing, it is a bad sign for the financial health of the specific firm.

Tip #5: Study a Cash Flow Statement

A cash flow statement resembles an income statement. However, there is a slight difference between these documents. A cash flow statement can be more useful for the objective and scrupulous survey of a company’s financial condition. This statement contains the precise facts concerning the sum of the money a company actually possesses. Furthermore, it demonstrates all expenses and profits. It shows the sources of cash flow. You can learn about the ways a company receives its profit. A cash flow statement is one of the documents that can prove the guilt of a cheating and unfair entrepreneur.

Tip #6: Calculate a Company’s Ratio and Competitiveness

When you want to capture the actual financial condition of a peculiar firm, you ought to calculate its financial ratio analyzing all financial statements and their components. You can compare the results with the ratios of other companies of the same sector on the market. If the ratio increases, it means that a company copes with the obstacles and accumulates cash. If a company possesses a reducing ratio, its competitiveness on the market falls down. Bear in mind that you cannot compare two companies if you do not conduct financial analysis papers for both of them. Thus, students do not need to compare ratios and performance of several companies. They just need to look over the financial health of a one particular firm to demonstrate their knowledge about the basic process of financial analysis paper writing in college and universty.

I guess I’ve reached “that” stage in life…

ikea

One of the primary selling points of our home was the awesome outdoor living space. We have a good sized patio just off our kitchen that overlooks our big lush backyard, flagstone fire pit area, and the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound. Our patio is awesome, but for the last nine months, it’s been naked. With summer quickly approaching,I had to change this.

We “needed” patio furniture.

As I began the process of patio furniture hunting , I realized I’m no longer as frugal as I once was. Dare I say, I’m starting to act more like I’m 30, and less like I’m 20. 

What’s the difference between a 30-year-old and a 20-year-old you ask?

It means my tastes have shifted from Ikea to West Elm, from thrift stores to Nordstrom, and  for a nice dinner out over fast food.

Quality, not price, is my primary concern.

Yes, I still looked at Ikea, Target, and Home Depot for patio furniture and learned I could get a five piece patio dining set for about $400 at one of these stores. But why would I pay $400 for crap? Okay maybe not crap, but the furniture is inferior to more expensive sets in terms of materials used and build quality.

We love our patio. We love to entertain. We plan on living in our house for many years.

It seemed only logical that we make  the right decision and invest in a high quality patio set that we love. I knew I wanted our set to include metal and wood, but hadn’t seen anything that tickled my fancy. Most patio furniture seems to be either made of all wood, all wicker, or all metal. Like this $900 set that screams “I’m 90 years old and like to have tea parties”

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After countless hours of searching in stores, online, and on Craigslist I finally found a patio set that I loved. It’s called the San Clemente and we found it at World Market. Check out this sexy piece of furniture…

Screen shot 2014-04-08 at Apr 8, 2014, 10.53.14 PM

The table was $400 which I thought was a pretty great price. The chairs, however, were quite expensive. The armless chairs run $120 each. the armed chairs run $130 each.

Ouch.

Multiply that by 6 chairs and things get expensive fast.

I considered buying just the table and trying to find cheaper chairs elsewhere, but then I had a 30-year-old moment, and thought to myself…

“Why the heck would I spend $400 on an awesome table and ruin it with less-than-awesome chairs?”

Not only did I end up buying six of those beautiful chairs you see above, but I bought six chairs WITH arms (the more expensive chair model) because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love having arm rests when they are sitting down?

Total damage for the set came out to $1,300 after finding a 10% off/free shipping coupon online. It’s not an uber fancy $5,000 set like Costco offers, but it’s a far cry from the $200 set I would have bought at Ikea five years ago. And it is by far the most expensive furniture piece we’ve ever purchased (next would be our $888 stainless steel refrigerator).

Growing up is expensive, and I kind of like it. 

Have you noticed yourself graduating up in certain categories as you get older? If so, which ones? In what areas of your life, do you still frugally? (we rent a room out in our house, sacrificing privacy for income)

Screw being a millionaire

Ninja Mansion

When I graduated college, at 21 years old, I really only had one goal for myself in regards to my personal finances.

GET FILTHY FREAKING RICH

But here I am, seven years later, realizing that I don’t actually care about being wealthy.

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Ninja, you’re a hypocrite. Some of your posts definitely seem like you’re all about building wealth.”

After all, I haven’t been shy about sharing how we’ve…

…averaged a 50%+ savings/investing rate since we’ve been married.

…rented out a room in our home to help bring in extra income.

…increased our net worth a silly amount each year (up $70k in 2013)

Meh, you say tomato, I say to-MAH-to.

You see, we aren’t saving an obscene amount of our income, living frugally, or investing in our retirement accounts so we can reach the coveted millionaire status. That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

AN EXAMPLE:

Instead of talking about money, let’s talk about physical appearance as related to fitness. At 6’2 and 175-ish pounds, I tend to be a little leaner than most other men my height.

But make no mistake, I don’t ski, take Nova on walks, or coach high school tennis so that I can be in better shape. Instead, I’m fortunate to be in decent shape because I have a proclivity to do active things; like ski, go on walks, and play tennis.

I care more about the cause, less about the effect. 

The same is true for our money. I never want to lose sight of what is important. I have an innate desire to live well below my means, and save or give away my excess. This was true when my household income was $38,000 a year, and is still true today at $120,000. I don’t measure my value by my net worth, square footage, or income.

So while yes, I do think I’ll be a millionaire one day, please let me make it clear: I don’t care to be a millionaire. 

I just want to be a good steward of the resources God’s given us. It just so happens stewardship often begets wealth building.

Does life get worse?

I remember being in my Junior year of high school, loving every minute of it, thinking to myself “This is the best time of my life. It’s all downhill from here.” 

Then I went to college in San Diego and watched the sunset over the ocean every night for four years and thought to myself “Wow, this is the best season of life ever. I never want to graduate.”

Then I graduated, got a sweet job, and got to prove to myself I could make it as a productive member of society. I was having just as much fun as I did in college, but wasn’t quite as broke and no longer had homework. WIN!

And now, here I am, six years out of college, married, a new homeowner, about to become a puppy parent, loving every minute, wondering does it get even better?

 

I have loved just about every phase of life, except middle school – honestly what person enjoyed middle school?

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Contrary to my feelings about the future, life has always seemed to get progressively better. I’m shocked I love being 28 more than I loved being 18!

 

Our financial situation has followed suit. Six years ago I was a fresh-out-of-college graduate making $13/hour with a staggering $28,000 debt load. Every year since then has been better than the last, resulting in a quarter-million dollar gain. That’s insane to me.

I hope this doesn’t come across as bragging. That is not at all my intention. Thankfulness and awe are probably better indications of how I feel. I don’t expect things to get better, but somehow they always have.

 

It’s mind-boggling really.

 

Parenting is likely the next phase of life I’ll find myself in. I’m skeptical that it will be better than this current season, but hey, when I was graduating college I remember almost crying at the thought of having to work for the next 40 years. But here I am today, so thankful I don’t have to sit through another History 101 lecture, cram on a Sunday night, or touch a Scantron ever again.

Is this normal?

What would you say your favorite season of life was? Are you like me and each phase only gets better? Or is there a phase that finally makes you long for how it used to be?

What’s your hobby?

I’m always curious to learn about someone’s hobbies. I mean, think about it. People might spend their free time knitting, playing Bunco, crossfitting, flying remote control planes, rapping, collecting stamps, or white water rafting. Some hobbies cost nothing, swimming in the local lake. Others have significant upfront costs, like cycling, but have minimal recurring expenses. While others are a never-ending money suck, skiing/technology/yoga.

I started thinking about what my hobbies are and how much money they cost me and decided I’d rank them from “most expensive” to least expensive.

1. Fixing up our house. There were very virtually no red flags on our home inspection report. But that hasn’t stopped us from dropping thousands of dollars in the first few months on making our house more personal to our tastes. We upgraded functioning appliances, painted all the walls, painted/added hardware to the kitchen cabinets, ripped out the basement carpet, and the list goes on and on. None of these things absolutely needed to be taken care of, so while some might argue it’s not a hobby, I’d argue it sure looks like one. I spend most of my free time on these house projects and enjoy (for the most part) doing them. We’re probably spending $2,000+ each month right now, but by the end of the month we’ll be spending virtually nothing since I’ll be out of the country for almost two months.

2. Young Life. You remember that crazy outfit I showed you in my last blog post? The one where I dressed up as Chatterbox Charlie for a youth group event. We are pretty involved in Young Life and as a result, spend a ton of time (and money) on it. From buying costumes and game supplies, to hosting 30 puberty stricken high school kids for game night, costs can add up quick. Probably spending around $100/month on YL related shenanigans.

3. Internet. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I spend a good chunk of time on the interwebs. Whether that’s writing this here blog (which costs about $100/year to maintain), catching up on Google News, or mindlessly surfing Facebook/Instagram more than I’d ever care to admit, I don’t think I can get by without access to the net. Fortunately, my internet service is covered by my employer so that means this hobby is virtually free…unless you count all the things I buy on Amazon… haha.

 

I could go on with things like Skiing or dining out,  but the three listed above are probably how I spend the large majority of my free time. What about you? What are some of your primary hobbies, and how much do they cost ya?

A lot can happen in 12 months.

Sorcery

Yesterday, I went all “Who wants to be a millionaire” on you guys and asked the audience a question. It was a simple question:

How has your financial situation changed over the last 12 months?

Of the 333 of you that responded, 240 said things have gotten better. Only 44 readers said things have gotten worse. I wasn’t surprised by the results, considering anyone who voluntarily reads personal finance blogs in their free time, probably tends to care about their finances more than the average joe.

I liked my question because it was intentionally vague. I left it up to the respondent to decide what an improvement in one’s financial situation meant. Maybe that meant getting a fat raise, maybe it meant your retirement funds have appreciated, maybe you moved out of your parent’s basement, or maybe you’ve finally started knocking out that consumer debt that’s been hanging over your head. It was awesome to see the additional insight some of you provided in the comments section, so thanks for that.

While not much has changed in the Ninja household over the last year (expenses and income are pretty much the same), we’ve seen a pretty incredible increase in our net worth.

In fact, I just ran the numbers and it looks like we’ve shot up $55,454 in the last 12 months. In-FREAKING-sane. I honestly had no idea we made that much progress. That works out to a $4,621 increase each month… for twelve straight months.

What’s more, we dropped $12,000 cash on a car upgrade and another $7,500 on MANteresting during this time.

How the heck did we swing this?

I really don’t know. I mean, obviously the markets are responsible for a big chunk, but it really just comes down to boring ol discipline. Investing in our future, saving aggressively for a down payment, not being consumer whores, blah, blah, blah.

Being intentional and proactive with our finances in our 20’s will hopefully set us up for continued success in our 30’s, 40’s, and beyond. I’m taking the words of Spock seriously and doing my best to…

Live long and prosper

There is nothing sexy about our story.

too sexy

As our savings account continues to grow, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. How are Girl Ninja and I quickly approaching a $200,000 net worth at 25 and 27 years old? What’s the magic trick? How can I package our story up in to a $10 e-book called “Punch Being Poor In The Face” and sell it to you all?

I mean, we didn’t receive an inheritance. We didn’t get bailed out by Uncle Sam. We’ve never negotiated a huge bonus or pay bump. Our retirement accounts aren’t performing as well as I would have expected thanks to a stagnant economy. We aren’t incredibly frugal. And while this blog netted me about $3,500 last year, MANteresting cost me $7,500 so I’m not bringing in tons of passive income. Basically, my friends, there is nothing sexy about our story. 

Unless of course you find boring sexy.

Fortunately, boring works! Not only does it work, but it works really, really, really well. If I had to summarize how we’ve managed to do alright for ourselves in one sentence I think it would be this: We want a lot, but need nothing. 

For over two years now I’ve been hoping my crappy six-year-old Macbook would die. Well, actually it did die once, but I was able to revive it. I want it to die, because I REALLY want to buy a new laptop, but for as long as this little hunk of junk continues to power on, I will continue to blog from it. I recognize that I want a new laptop, and that I will buy one when this one no longer does it’s job, but I do not NEED a new laptop and there is no sense pretending like I do.

The same could be said about our housing situation. We want a house. We want more than 700sqft of space. We want a second bedroom for guests to stay in. Girl Ninja wants a second bathroom so she doesn’t have to go near it after I’ve “occupied” it 😉 We want to stop paying rent. We want to diversify our investments by including real estate in our portfolio. That said, we could still add a little more to savings to give us a bigger financial cushion after putting 20% down. We could definitely use more time house hunting and familiarizing ourselves with the local market. We want a house, and might buy one soon, but we definitely don’t pretend like we “need” one.

Heck, eight months ago we bought ourselves a new-to-us Honda Pilot (which we officially named Pontius). We dropped $20,000 cash on the car ($8,000 of which came from the sale of Girl Ninja’s Corolla). But even then, we knew the whole time the Pilot was a want, not a need. We never felt like we deserved a bigger car. We didn’t try to pretend our family of two needs a car that seats eight. Sure it was frivolous, but because we only wanted, and not needed it, we were able to make sure the purchase didn’t impact our financial situation significantly. A want has no sense of urgency; the same can’t be said for a need.

Most financial experts will tell you to separate your wants from your needs, and only focus on your needs. That’s terrible advice if you ask me. Let’s be real, we are greedy Americans who use the word “need” to justify anything and everything under the sun. If we can convince ourselves we need a new computer, phone, vacuum,  or car; we suddenly don’t feel bad about buying one.

That’s not how I roll. Aside from basic necessities like food, water, shelter, and a kiss from Girl Ninja each morning I can’t really think of anything else I need. There are a ton of things I want. Some of these things we will end up buying, others we will just continue wanting. As long as I recognize that our basic needs have already been met, I’m confident our net worth will continue to rise.

Want a lot, need nothing.