Each January I choose a phrase or a saying to assign to the year ahead. Last year it was “trend positive”. Of course I would love to say I had future insight into the markets and I was talking about the balance of portfolios. But I don’t and I wasn’t and at times this year, they definitely were not trending positive. What I was mostly referring to in 2023 with that phrase, was to focus on the positive and head that way. Trend in a positive direction. Strive to make incremental improvements. I even made a music playlist of upbeat and motivating songs for when I woke up in a negative headspace.

 

It helped. It worked for me, most of the time. And isn’t that what we are after? Practices, actions, duties and experiences that work most of the time? Do more of that!

 

That is my phrase for 2024 “Do more of that!” And by “that” I mean what feels good, what is working. In order to know what feels good and what is working, you have to notice. I believe journaling is a wonderful practice of noticing. When you write it down, you claim it is so. We have trackers for everything these days. How did I sleep? 45% = bad night. 90% = good night. But that doesn’t tell you what you should do differently. What if instead you woke up and grabbed your journal. How do I feel this morning? I tossed and turned in the night. Why? Lots on my mind about work and my daughter’s return to high school this semester. What to do? I should do a brain dump and list the things I am concerned about and should address this week. Make a task list. That will help me stop ruminating at night. Perhaps I ate chocolate before bed. I shouldn’t do that tonight. Okay, now I am aware as to the reason for my sleeplessness and I know what to do to improve the situation..

 

With regard to financial well-being, January is a good time to assess what worked and what didn’t in the prior year. 

 

It probably didn’t work to have high interest credit balances. It probably worked well to save more to high interest savings accounts and balanced portfolios. Did you begin a savings plan that increased your net worth? Can you see that balance now in comparison to the prior year? Does that feel good? Let’s do more of that. Maybe even increase the rate of savings if you can find the wiggle room.

 

Maybe you had that hard conversation with your parents about their living situation and caregiving in the future. Good for you. Have you begun to implement some changes? Now is the year to do more of that. Who do you need on your team to implement? 

 

Maybe you gave more to charity last year and that felt really good and helped you save on taxes. Do you want to do more of that? Let’s make a plan.

 

Perhaps you finalized that estate plan and you are sleeping a little better knowing it is in place. What else is hanging to be completed? An advisor can hold you accountable to check that box.

 

A financial advisor can help you review what is working and what is not. We can guide you through the next steps to achieving your goals – that feels good. And let’s do more of what feels good.

Brandon Cabaniss, CFP®
brandon@wwmgreenville.com