As I prepare to close the door on 2016, I want to acknowledge the money that flowed into and out of my life this year.
I’m eternally grateful to G-d for His continued provision and abundance.
And give thanks to my clients for their trust in my ability to serve and support them.
On the outflow side, my family and I had the regular sorts of expenses like food, housing, education and a much-needed summer vacation.
And there were unexpected expenses too.
Because life is kind of like that.
There are always things we can’t anticipate.
Like the broken printer, a fixit job on the dryer, the fender bender and the unexpected splurge earlier this month when my parents came to visit.
We wined and dined and went to the symphony. We spent joyous, memorable time and money together.
I’m grateful for the precious days that my family of 18, spanning four generations spent together. And the financial resources we had to enrich the visit.
My cup runneth over.
Now let me take Unexpected Expenses one step further.
Two weeks ago, my father-in-law lost his mum. She needed a full-time caregiver for nearly a decade and was bedridden during the final years of her long life.
Who would have planned for that?
That’s a lot of Unexpected Expenses.
And what enabled my family to revel in our time together is exactly the same thing that provided 24/7 care for my father-in-law’s mum.
Money that was consciously earned, saved and invested over the course of weeks and years.
Because Savings helps us cover the unexpected.
Savings facilitates dreams, enhances possibilities, and enables choice.
But as I take stock of our money flow in 2016, I wonder about other people and their money habits. Are they thinking about how they want their money to serve and support them and enhance their lives for the long term?
But in reality, way too many people are living in the here and now. Enjoying immediate pleasures. Disconnected from the consequences of empty retirement plans and oppressive interest rates on their credit card debt and overdraft.
They’re not thinking about financial freedom and independence.
Or maybe they know they should be thinking about the future but they’re not quite sure what to do about it or where to start.
Even smart, intelligent people can be scared or intimidated by financial planning and investing.
Or perhaps they’ve made money mistakes in the past and they hesitate to take control of their finances because they don’t want to get burned again.
Whatever the reason, I’m here to let you know that 2017 is your year to show yourself and your money some love, some kindness and respect.
If you’re ready and willing to take action.
It’s your time to give your money some leadership and direction. It’s the year to be courageous, inquisitive and responsible.
2017 is the year to Adult Your Money.
I’m going to be talking a lot about adulting your money this month. And in my upcoming program Smart Women Build Wealth.
For the moment, here are four immediate ways you can take action:
1. Set Specific, Measurable Goals and Write Them Down! Written goals force you to think clearly about exactly what you want.
The physical act of writing makes your goals real. It concretizes them. It makes it harder to ignore your goals or to forget about them.
Written goals also give you a yard stick against which you can measure other opportunities that pop up into your life. Do they bring you closer to achieving your goals? Or do they pull you further away?
Post your goals in a prominent place for continuous and frequent reminders. Set a weekly, or even daily, reminder on your phone.
2. Create an Action Plan. Break down your goal into the individual steps you need to take. This paves your path and keeps you moving in the right direction.
Small actionable steps are especially important for those large and daunting goals that can seem impossible to achieve.
When you know the next steps, you are much more likely to take them.
3. Vision and visualize your goals. Some goals, like pay off credit card debt, are clear and specific. You know how much you need to pay it off.
Saving for the down payment on a house, on the other hand, is fuzzy. You can fiddle with the size of house, number of rooms, and neighborhood to find a home the fits your budget.
Very long term goals, like Save for Retirement, can be super vague. They’re far in the future. There are so many unknowns.
It doesn’t matter. We do the best we can.
Spend 15 minutes sitting quietly and visioning what your future looks like. The house, the size of the lot and the neighborhood.
Have fun with this exercise and go into detail.
For retirement planning, think about babysitting your grandkids, playing with Lego and baking cookies. Or do you prefer traveling and volunteering? Or all of the above?
Write down what you want your future to look like.
Your vision will probably change and shift many times over the years as you and your life grow and develop. That’s OK. It’s allowed. But having a specific vision today gives you focus and direction for your attention, energy and money.
BONUS: Create a vision board to help you ground your future in the present. In real life. And put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day.
Related Post: 7 Steps to Transforming Your Money in the New Year
4. Develop a strong savings habits. If you’re already saving regularly, fantastic. Do you know if your savings are sufficient to meet your immediate and future needs? Can they cover you in an emergency? Or enable you to take a spur of the moment holiday?
If not, what positive steps do you need to take to feel confident that your money can support you beautifully? Who do you need to speak with and what changes do you need to make to your financial accounts?
If you don’t have a firmly established savings habit, it’s time to start. Now. Even if you’re in debt. Because if you have nothing in Savings, then the next time you get a flat tire or need to get your air conditioning fixed you’re going to have to rely on Debt.
And you’ll end up right back where you started.
So start with something small, like 10 dollars a week. Just get the savings habit going.
Related Post: 7 Reasons You’re Not Saving Enough
So there you have it friends. Four ways you can immediately be more intentional and responsible with your finances. And Adult Your Money in 2017.
Keep a look out for my next post where I will share with you even more ways you can adult your money and create a beautiful and financially sustainable life.
Till then, I’m sending you dear blessings for a Happy Hanukkah and prosperity, wisdom and health in 2017.