Your Money in 2023
Writing a blog post about New Year’s resolutions is so predictable: it’s been done to death. And anyway, as we know, New Year’s resolutions are rarely kept.
But I can’t help myself: I love the idea of a fresh year and the possibilities it brings. January 1st is a mental marker for creating a new habit or working on self-improvement. It’s hopeful, optimistic and energizing.
Every year around this time I take an evening to sit and think. I reflect on how the year went and identify a few things that I’d like to work on for the coming year. This year I categorized my thoughts into various aspects of life: relationships, health, personal development, work and finances. We tend to focus on our weaknesses or failures, so I took this time to pat myself on the back for the good things I did this year. (It’s very uplifting.) From that, I came up with five things I’d like to focus on this year to enhance my life and happiness.
One of my areas of focus this year is related to money. Working in finance since my early 20s is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because I’ve been saving and investing since my 20s and financial knowledge has helped me tremendously, but a curse because I think about my own financial situation a lot. My goal this year is to come to peace with money and trust that my years of planning are going to carry me financially through my lifetime.
As this is a personal finance blog, I could be writing a post called “Money tips for 2023” or “10 ways to improve your finances this year.” I could offer all kinds of tips and advice on that front, but I really don’t want to write that blog to start the year. Thinking bigger picture is, in my opinion, more helpful.
So let me suggest three money-related topics to spend a little time thinking about in this first week of a new year.
1. What did you do well financially this year?
2. How do you feel about where you are financially?
3. What specific financial actions do you want to take this year?
What went well for you money-wise this past year? Don’t look only at the numbers, but also consider whether there was a financial habit you adopted or whether you took action to organize your finances. For me, I updated my spending tracker to see how my spending has changed over the past year and as always, this helps me feel more in control of my money. Whatever action you took this year, acknowledge it and pat yourself on the back.
How do you feel about where you are financially? Are you feeling confident about how you're spending, saving and investing? Do you have nagging concerns to address? One of my goals for 2023 is to come to peace with money and stop worrying about whether I will be able to pay my rent when I’m 90. One of the messages I like to convey with Clarity is that if you have a plan in place, you can lay to rest those concerns about paying for your later years. It’s an excellent concept but one that I’ve not yet mastered for myself.
What specific actions do you want to take this year with your money? Do you want to get invested properly? Track your spending to see where your money goes? Organize your finances by consolidating and simplifying? Learn about how your pension works? Figure out what to do with your TFSA? This year I am implementing a new system of managing my money: pre-funding and setting aside money for my infrequent but predictable expenses like insurance, property taxes and municipal utilities and paying for the day-to-day expenses from my income. This gives me a better sense of control and understanding of my cash flow and that makes me feel good.
Setting goals for the coming year is easy; working towards them is harder. The fewer you have, the more likely you are to give them the attention they need. I encourage you to pick one or two money-related goals for this year and determine how and when you will do them. It can really help to have someone to work with you on your goals to keep you on track and motivated. Finding a financial planner, advisor or coach might be just what you need to achieve those financial goals you’ve set.
Money is only one leg of our happiness stool, but whether we like it or not, it’s an important one. Is there something you can do this year to feel better about your finances in 2023?