Marcia's Blog

Taking financial stock: Three things to ask yourself before the end of 2013

December is the time of year for cooking, shopping and entertaining, but it’s also a good time for reflecting. Before you head into the New Year, grab a journal or a piece of paper and write down the answers to these questions to gauge where you’re at and put yourself in the mindset for a more financially successful 2014.


What was my single best financial move of 2013?
Too often when it comes to money we come down hard on ourselves and focus on what we didn’t do right. Yes, we need to own up to our mistakes, but it’s equally important to acknowledge our successes and the progress we’ve made. Think back over the year and write down the greatest financial move you made. Maybe you paid off a credit card, refinanced your mortgage, stuck to your budget or simply paid all of your bills on time. Whatever step you took, celebrate.

In what way did my finances improve in 2013?
Along the same lines, ask yourself what aspect of your financial picture improved the most in 2013. Is your debt load lighter? Do you have more money in an Emergency Fund? Is your retirement account in better shape than it was this time last year? Write down where you’re more financially fit going into the New Year.

What could I have done better in 2013?
An honest assessment looks at the good and the not-so-good. While we don’t want to dwell on our shortcomings, we want to examine them so we can improve them. What could you have done better this year? Be honest. Could you have saved more? Could you have created a more realistic budget? Could you have benefited from financial education such as a homebuying class? Write down where you could have improved. This will be your starting point for a better 2014.

The road to wealth is a journey. Determine where you are on the path – and discover where you need to go.