End-of-Year Financial Reflections

November 17, 2014

end of yearAt Compass Financial Group, one of the things we always like to talk about with our clients is the idea that money in and of itself means nothing until it adds fulfillment to your life. That's an easy concept to pay lip service to, but it can be a little harder to embrace in practice. All of us have hectic schedules and jam-packed lives, which means that it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most.

Our suggested solution to this dilemma? Take a break from shopping, holiday parties and family fun to pause and reflect. The end of another year offers an opportunity for all of us to refocus and reflect on where things stand in our lives. It's a time when you can ask yourself, "What is really important to me and my family? Are there things we could be doing differently so that we can are able to concentrate on the things that matter to us?" 

Money is nothing more than a tool that gives us the freedom to live the kind of live that we want.

Questions to Ask Yourself

As you assess where things stand, you might want to try to schedule some time to sit down with your spouse or your entire family. This can be a chance to discuss your progress over the past year and your goals for the coming 12 months. An uninterrupted hour or two (perhaps somewhere outside your home, where there will be fewer distractions) will give you time to really talk and reflect. Below are some questions you may want to ask during that conversation.

  • Have we made meaningful progress toward our goals over the past year? If no, what stood in our way, and what can we do to remove those obstacles? If yes, is it time to recalibrate our goals, given the success we've had?
  • Do we have new goals that we want to incorporate into our financial plan?
  • Could we be doing more to live our lives in a way that aligns with what our family values?
  • If we could change one thing about our financial lives, what would it be? Why?
  • What is one simple thing we could start doing tomorrow, either individually or as a family, that would help us make our lives more fulfilling?

When we talk about financial matters, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers and details. We focus on how much we're bringing in, the return on our investments, the amount we should be saving for the kids' college or our own retirement, or even how much we're spending on lattes or lunch. While those numbers are important, getting too focused on them can mask the issues that really matter.

The truth is, money is nothing more than a tool that gives us the freedom to live the kind of live that we want. But if we don't ask ourselves what really matters most to us, then we're more likely to get caught up in the rat race, working hard and stressing ourselves out for no clear purpose. Sometimes, it's important to take a step back and refocus on our most important life goals, so that we can be confident that we're in control of our money, rather than letting money control us.