“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill
As 2023 has come to a close, and we look forward to what 2024 has in store, it is a great time to take a step back and reflect on the good, bad and ugly from 2023. Were goals met? If not, why? Have new goals been established? What could be done differently, if anything, to facilitate more positive outcomes? As the calendar has flipped to a new year, self-reflection is crucial in order to make 2024 better than 2023, whatever form that may take. Below, focus will be on improving one’s personal finances, but can be extrapolated to personal growth as well – as the two are intertwined.
A personal financial audit is beneficial to do every few years, if not more frequently. Some questions to get the exercise started:
1. Did my expectations for professional development in 2023 – with growing responsibilities and income – come to fruition?
2. Did my expenses for the year come in under, at or below budget? (do I have a budget?)
3. How much am I saving for retirement? Is there an ability to save more?
4. What is the breakdown of my monthly discretionary and non-discretionary expenses?
5. Is my credit card being paid off in full each month? (Not just minimum payments)
6. Review all monthly subscriptions that are currently being paid for – are all subscriptions actively being used, and enjoyment being gleaned from them?
7. Any financial clutter that can be cleaned up?
- 401ks from previous employers, IRAs at multiple custodians, multiple HSAs, even accounts that may have been forgotten about (see unclaimed property on the TN Dept of Treasury website Find Your Missing Money! Tennessee’s Unclaimed Property Program (tn.gov)) As the new year begins, cleaning up financial clutter will only make your life easier (consolidate accounts).
If this was the first time you have conducted this exercise, I would encourage you to create a word document with your responses. Revisit these questions every year, or every other year. Track how your responses change over time.
If any of these questions can’t be answered, or lead to additional questions, please give our team a call at 865-379-8200.