For firefighters, the scene is always set as an emergency. It’s always sirens, flashing lights, and smoke pushing you to action. To succeed on the job, you have to be adequately prepared to fight the fire. However, this sometimes doesn’t seem to translate into your financial situation, and money emergencies like a fire can’t wait. 


To help you start the journey towards financial freedom and avoid money emergencies that you can’t handle, here’s how to size up your finances.

Here Are Four Things to Include in Your Fire Scene Size-up Checklist

According to research conducted, more than any other issue, money troubles are the number one stress trigger for individuals and families.¹

Calculate your Net Worth

This is the way to find out the exact state of your financial status. Calculate the amount you owe in debt, check your savings, credit utilization, and other financial obligations. Your net worth statement will paint a clear picture of where you stand. Unfortunately, just as it plays out in the fire scene, your state dictates your actions. 


Evaluating your net worth is crucial in assessing your current financial situation and the start point of your direction. 

Evaluate Your Income and Expenditure

The second thing in the fire scene size-up checklist is the evaluation of your cash flow. Take it how you direct the water in a fire scene. Ask yourself what happens to your income after it comes in. after you’ve used it on your monthly obligations, is there any that remains, or is there a deficit?  This plays a critical role in creating and accomplishing your financial goal.


A budget can help in this situation because it forces you to work around your income.²

Create a Financial Objective

An objective is created by knowing the purpose you want your finances to fulfill in your life. It could be to get out of debt, reduce financial emergencies and worries, increase your residual income, and such. You can start by creating a timeline and what you want to achieve within that time. 

Be Tactical in Your Objectives

Once you have figured out what you want to achieve, it comes time to act. Similarly, even the best plans do not put out fires. You need to take action. Start by analyzing your expenses and create a budget. Look at how much residual income can go into a liquid savings account. Look at areas where you may be overspending and remove all unnecessary expenses. After you accomplish one goal, swiftly move to the next.

Your Ultimate Fire Scene Size-up Checklist

To size up your finances, the two main things you need to know are your current financial status and what you want it to look like in the future. The key to building wealth is spending less than your income. Spending everything or more than you make invites the need to utilize your credit to the maximum, and in time the debt can end up too heavy to bear.


“About Mountain West Financial and the CalPATH Home Loan Program

Mountain West Financial is the exclusive lender offering CalPATH, the #1 home loan program for Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, and other public employees who serve our local California communities.

You may contact our CalPATH Hotline @ 800-310-7577, seven days a week from (8:30 am to 8:00 pm). A CalPATH advisor will be standing by to answer (any & all) questions you may have about the home buying or refinance process.

We look forward to working with you soon!


Joe Moore

Branch Manager”


Links to External Sources:


  1. Americans are more stressed about money than work or relationships—here’s why
  2. 6 Tips For Living Your Budget, Not Just Planning It