It’s A Wonderful Life

Imagine that you were suddenly gone from this earth tomorrow and a stranger was tasked with reviewing and closing out your finances.  What would that person learn about you?  Would they know that you have a big house?  An expensive car?  Drink lots of fancy coffees?  Spent more than you made?  Or would they see that you care about others who don’t have as much as you?  That you had plenty, but not too much?  That you earned a good living and gave generously to those you loved? 

 

Too often we can all let money become our goal instead of letting money fund our goals.  A New Year is a time when many people can reassess what they do and why they do it.  So now is a great time to decide to let what and whom we love be the driving force behind our financial decisions.  It’ll make your New Year more productive than you can imagine. 

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Looking at Next Year

Now that you’ve looked at where you’ve been financially in the past year and you’ve seen how you did on some financial basics, it’s time to look toward a financially responsible future. 

 

On the areas where you spent more than you believe you should have, make a spending plan for those items for the coming year.  Sometimes, it doesn’t need to be in a dollar budget.  For instance, instead of saying that you’re going to spend $100 a month dining out, maybe you say you’re going to eat out twice a month. 

 

On the items where you’re cutting back, decide what you’ll replace them with.  One fellow financial planner, Bert Whitehead, told of some of his clients who decided to take some cooking classes to replace their many dinners out.  They’d invite friends over for nice dinners and experienced the unexpected bonus that many of their friends invited them to dinner out as a thank you.

 

Make a monthly spending plan that takes into account saving for items that don’t happen every month – maybe a quarterly life insurance payment, holiday gifts, vacation. 

 

Put in place some rewards for yourself when you stay on track.  They might be financial rewards – like a weekend trip – or less tangible rewards – like taking a bubble bath. 

 

During the next year, we’ll look on monitoring your financial progress as well as going in depth on the financial basics.