Jan. 6 traditionally marks the celebration of Epiphany when the Magi came from the East bearing gifts to visit the Christ child. Many of us also have had our own epiphany moments as we stepped on the scales after holiday feasts and opened our year-end credit card statements in this week’s mail. As we leave the celebration and joy of the Christmas season, we are encouraged to make resolutions to eat better, jog more, spend less and be nicer.
Although we associate the word “epiphany” with the nativity story, the term also can mean “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something,”according to Dictionary.com.
The financial markets faced many challenges in 2011. From the Eurozone crisis to gridlock in Washington, D.C., equity prices cascaded as the fear of recession peaked in late summer.
Before you make the same annual resolution to live better (or perhaps you haven’t made any at all) or listen to a Wall Street analyst make his annual dart-throwing prediction, take a moment to reflect on where you stand financially and where you want to be. How did you withstand the massive downturns in the equity markets in the past five years? Do you have a trusted adviser to give you advice on how to steer your boat through turbulent waters? Most importantly, what do you do to mitigate the emotions of greed and fear when it comes to your financial life?
As you reflect on the past year, ask yourself if you met your personal savings goals, managed investment risk and most importantly if you’re closer to becoming financially independent than you were on Jan. 6, 2011. If you didn’t have a plan and weren’t able resist making decisions based upon the major financial news headlines in 2011, let this be the moment the light shines.
Jan. 6 can be your epiphany too.