A Year in Review

With a New Year comes New Year’s resolutions. They are often well documented with a determination that THIS year will be different. This year, you will stick to your resolutions and that this year you will achieve your goals … But life happens and often by mid-year you have forgotten all your resolutions. So, before you set new resolutions, hoping to achieve them this year, let’s reflect on 2021, what has and has not worked and in so doing, set yourself up for growth in 2022.

New Year’s resolutions are often lofty ideas or even ideals and have less to do with your current reality. But maybe your New Year’s resolutions can be achieved over a 3-or 5-year period if you were to break it down into small achievable steps. For example, your goal could be to buy a holiday home. You set the goal at the beginning of the year to buy a holiday home by the end of year, but by end of the year you realize you do not have enough saved up, and you give up on your dream of owning a second property. But if you were to break it down into smaller steps, you would start by revising your budget for 2022. Some debit orders may have increased, such as school fees and extra murals and others, like your bond and household insurance, have stayed the same or decreased. Once you have finalised your budget, allocate a portion of your income to save towards a holiday home, taking into account the amount of money you will need for a deposit, transfer duties, and renovation costs. Then determine a suitable investment vehicle, a short-term, liquid, low-risk investment that will yield you the highest return.  By breaking it down, a once large unobtainable dream can be within reach within 3 or 5 years.

By looking back on the year, we can learn from the experience by evaluating what has worked and what has not worked. We may just remember where we have failed and what we regret but we forget our successes and what we can be grateful for. There will be areas where we had great success and others that failed. By reflecting on the year, we can ask ourselves what can we do differently next time, and what can we learn from the experience? What behaviour or mindset can we change? I think, in order to move forward, we must reflect and audit what has worked and what has not worked in the past.

Some of the questions you might ask yourself: When did I feel most generous? What month did I reach my saving target? What article did I enjoy reading and learning more about finances? When did I feel most on top of my finances and budgeting? Have I said “no” to buying something or spending because I knew I could not afford it? How did it make you feel?  Have you put time and effort aside to reflect on your spending and spending habits? Does your budget reflect paying the bills or does it reflect your values, dreams and goals?

If for example, your family is very important to you, does your budget reflect family time, like regular family outings, or saving for an annual family holiday? If giving back is important to you, have you allocated a monthly amount to give to the poor? Have you visited some charities and decided which one resonates most with you and committed to give to them monthly?

What was your shining moment in 2021? What are you most grateful for and with whom did you love spending time with? Did you take time out to care for a loved one? Did you get promoted? Get married or start a new relationship? What are you grateful for in 2021 and what was your best moment or greatest achievement this past year?

What did not work in 2021? What are you happy to leave in 2021 and not bring with you in 2022? Maybe it is bad spending habits? Or not being able to set boundaries? What do you need to forgive yourself for doing or not doing in 2021? In order to move forward, we need to forgive ourselves and let go. Letting go and forgiving ourselves is needed to move forward, for our growth. What did you want to save for but did not manage to or what debt did you want to reduce but were not able to?

What do you want to take with you into 2022? What are you most grateful for? Were all your trials terrible or did you learn something from them? Do you feel you have grown in 2021 and what growth do you want in 2022? What dreams, goals and ambitions are you setting yourself for 2022? In next month’s blog, we will be tackling 2022 and setting achievable New Year’s resolutions.

Posted in Blog, Financial Planning, LIFE.