For the past 16 years, Lesia and I have had an annual year-end review meeting the final week of the year. During this time, we review all things financial and discuss whether or not we exceeded, met, or did not meet our goals. It is also a time to reflect on the year and reminisce about trips we have taken and any other personal or professional highlights.
The first five items on our list are:
Year-end net worth
Net worth increased/decreased by: (It has gone down once in 16 years, remember the market decline in 2008?)
Giving (i.e., non-profits, gifts, volunteer hours)
Savings rate as a percentage of gross income
To my surprise, there are another 54 bullet points (i.e., noteworthy items) to discuss for 2018. If you are curious, like me, I wanted to know how many items were on our list the first full year (2003) after we were married...13 (you have to start somewhere). One of the most intriguing facts was that we had a goal to save 10% of our gross income for retirement. It's funny how 10% seemed like a huge amount back then. We also put $1,000 in our 2003 vacation account. How ironic that nowadays people spend more than that, per person, during the holidays.
Another item that caught my attention from 2003 was our goal to "set up household finance files and banking accounts." The weird part is that we still use the same system today. For example, we have accounts for household expenses, personal allowances, travel and emergencies.
Some of the file folder names are Health, Life, Auto, Homeowner, Birth Certificates & Passports, and Estate Planning. This allows us to keep our important documents organized and stored in a place that is easily accessible (tip for reducing financial stress).
Unfortunately, I do not have any juicy financial secrets to share. Our systems are boring but simple is what works best. What is working for you?