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The end of 2020 is near and the possibility of better days ahead is looking like more of a reality. The end of the year is a great time to review your finances so you can evaluate your progress and set goals for the new year. Two essential habits for building and maintaining wealth are tracking your money and setting goals. What gets measured gets managed. Here are some tips for how to conduct a simple (and effective) year-end review. 
  • Review your net worth and cash flow:  Your net worth (the total of our assets and liabilities) is a great way to measure your financial progress over time. Understanding your cash flow (income and expenses) is also important, as your ability to manage cash flow has a direct impact on your ability to achieve financial goals. If you’re already tracking this information, compare this year’s numbers to last year. If you’re not tracking this information, use this time to start tracking so you can review next year.
  • Evaluate changes in income or expenses: Have you had any significant changes in your income or expenses this year? Did you make any major purchases such as a house or home renovations? If you made more money or your expenses went down, where did the additional money go? If you made less or had an increase in expenses, how did you adjust? Do you anticipate any changes in your income or expenses over the next 12 months?
  • Evaluate changes in your personal situation: Have you had any major changes in your personal situation this year such as a new job, marriage, or child? Do you anticipate any of these changes next year? If so, how will these changes affect your budget and lifestyle?
  • Update your budget and set new goals: Now that you’ve reviewed your financial information and evaluated changes, use this information to make adjustments to your budget and set next year’s goals. Be sure to set SMART goals so you can increase your chances of achieving them.
  • Go beyond finances: While financial goals are important, I encourage you to think beyond finances. This is also a great time to review your life goals. Reflect on your personal relationships, health, career, or other areas that are important to you. Set SMART goals related to these categories too.
One final note. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone. Even if you didn’t reach the goals you set for yourself, chances are you’ve changed a lot for the better. You survived what is most likely one of the craziest years of your life, and that alone is an accomplishment. Be sure to celebrate your wins, big or small, by taking note of how you’ve grown this year and what lessons you learned. I’m proud of you for pushing through, and I’m excited about the days to come.  
 
How to Prioritize Saving, Investing, and Paying Off Debt
With so many financial goals to tackle, you may have questions about financial priorities. I share my thoughts about how to prioritize saving, investing, and paying off debt in this blog post.
 
5 Lessons to Build and Maintain Wealth
Building wealth requires the right mindset and habits. I share my takeaways from a book that changed how I think about money here. There’s a link to a brief assessment at the end where you can see if your financial behaviors are conducive to building wealth.
 
My calendar is open for consultations in February. If you could use some help reaching your financial goals in 2021, I would love to have a conversation!

Enjoy the Holidays!

Chloé A. Moore, CFP®
Founder, Financial Staples

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