The start of the year is always a good time to take stock of your situation and make assessments on what you would like to achieve. My wife and I both discussed our financial goals for the coming year and we both came upon one agreement: we need to get more organized.
My 2009 financial goal – back to the essentials
I can’t control the stock market or job market, so I won’t make any goals that hinge on growing my net worth by a certain percentage, or on getting a promotion or certain raise. Those things are out of my control. I prefer to make SMART Goals – those that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Basically, a goal which I can control and/or measure progress toward.
I can control making contributions to my retirement account, striving to achieve certain benchmarks at work (professional certifications, etc.), and other important aspects of my financial life. That last item is where I want to focus my energies this year. My goal for 2009 is to get my financial house in order.
Last month I wrote an article called 10 Personal Finance Essentials. My goals is to get all of those essentials up to date (most are), and add one more, update our personal finance “how-to” manual.
My 2009 personal finance goals:
1. Update our will. This is the first item I have listed on my personal finance essentials article. My wife and I have a will, but we need to update it. There are many places where you can get your will done, including online websites like Legal Zoom, software programs, and store bought kits. But I think my wife and I may go to a lawyer this time, just for the peace of mind.
2. Obtain sufficient insurance. My wife and I have insurance, but again, we need to update it, and probably increase the amount of insurance we have. We have sufficient home and auto insurance, but we only have minimal life insurance and long term care insurance. We need to be prepared in the event the unthinkable happens.
3. Update our personal finance “how-to” manual. My wife and I currently share the responsibility for most joint bills, but we each pay our own credit cards and don’t have access to one another’s credit card accounts. She also doesn’t have access to the information to my small business bank accounts, retirement accounts, and a couple other important accounts. If something were to happen to me, she would be lost and it would likely take the work of lawyers for her to get access to everything. I did, however, make her an administrator on the Solo 401(k) plan I opened last month. That way she can have full access to the account if necessary. I created a list of al accounts, passwords, logins, etc, but I need to update it and make sure we are on the same page regarding our financial obligations.
That’s it – three items. It doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, it is! Each of these items is extremely important and will take a lot of time and research. But they are well worth the time spent and the peace of mind they provide.