Achieving Your Financial Goals in 2024
For the past two months, I have seen countless articles presenting readers with different strategies to achieve their financial goals in the new year. These pieces were well intentioned, and some of the advice was worth following. However, there is strong data indicating that using the New Year as a springboard to change behavior and achieve a goal is not the most fruitful strategy. When it comes to making changes, I always reflect on what speaker and author, Mel Robbins says, “People are open to making changes when they finally get sick of their own excuses.” As an Advisor, I appreciate this observation because I have seen this time and time again.
I raise this point not because I want to call out the negative side of making resolutions. Frankly, it’s the opposite. I want people to succeed, but it’s vital to be realistic about making changes to achieve their financial and personal goals. In the spirit of helping people achieve their goals at a time when most resolutions have faded, I thought I would offer a few suggestions on how to achieve your financial goals in the new year.
What Did You Learn About Yourself In 2023?
Each year is filled with experiences, moments, struggles and triumphs that shape us into who we are. Despite being a month into 2024, it’s not too late to take time and reflect upon the big and small moments of 2023. It is crucial to heed these lessons for a more informed future. Was there a moment last year when a friend did something unexpected for you? Did you lose someone close to you in 2023? Each experience presents opportunities on which to meditate and grow. How are you going to use the experiences of 2023 to grow in 2024?
What Do You Want Out Of 2024?
Since so much of the year remains to be written, it’s natural to think that this year will be better than the previous one. However, it’s important to define what “better” means to you. TCI’s investment philosophy reminds us to appreciate marginal improvements, as these are critical to helping to achieve our long-term goals.
As someone who loves data, let’s define “better,” by attaching some numbers to it. Would you be happy if 2024 is 10% better than 2023? What if it is only 5% better? Similar to the market, a better year isn’t guaranteed, and it’s important to approach each year with a healthy, neutral perspective. How are you going to feel if 2024 ends up 17% worse than 2023? Down years are certainly disappointing, but we know they are going to happen from time to time. It’s important to remember that these years tend to be rare when we let enough time pass. Even though, in the moment, they can be challenging.
However, you can directly influence the outcome of your year. So, what do you want out of 2024, and what can you do to have a great year? Is there a relationship in which you would like to invest? Is there a trip you want to take? By what percentage would your year improve if you did these things? At TCI, our goal is for everyone to live their version of a purpose-filled life. You have the power to shape the outcome of your year. It lies in the decisions you make and the actions you take. Our job as Advisors is to help ensure that your financial life supports your vision.
Understand How Your Financial Plan Is Changing in 2024
Life is a journey, and as the years evolve, so does your financial plan. Many of these priorities and variations, big and small, are on our radar. A small change, for example, can be to deposit amounts to various account contribution limits. These changes are on our radar, and it is our duty to advise you on what is in your best interests on your financial journey. A big change, on the other hand, could be enrolling in Medicare. While you and your TCI team likely have had lengthy conversations about it, it’s still a significant shift from the way you’ve been doing things for many years.
In addition to these milestone moments, it’s important to share what lifestyle changes you may be considering in 2024. Are you planning to buy a new car or invest in updated appliances? While these may seem personal, they have financial implications. Continuing to communicate such decisions with your Advisor ensures that your comprehensive financial plan is up to date and accommodates all aspects of your life. At TCI, we see ourselves as your strategic partners in navigating life and helping you accomplish your goals. Timely communication ensures that your financial plan remains aligned with your evolving goals.
Manage Your Financial Emotions
A new year means more ups and downs from the market. We don’t know when they are going to happen, but they will happen at some point. As alluded to earlier, we don’t control the markets, but we do control our reactions to market events. Each Advisor at TCI has mantras we tell clients to ease these concerns. One of my personal favorites is explaining how people feel the pain of a loss more than the joy of a win. Yet, because there are so many emotions associated with money, it’s hard to do this on your own. At TCI, we work with clients to manage their emotions and stay grounded in their desire to accomplish long-term financial goals. While short-term market fluctuations may create feelings of uneasiness, remember that you have a well-thought-out financial plan that is designed to withstand fluctuations, so you can focus on the more important things in your life.
Limit Your Access To Financial Media
When I was 15, I went on my first mountaineering trip with my family. We summited Mt. Shasta over three days. Throughout the trip, my dad kept referring to our next steps in 24-hour windows. In the wilderness and at altitude, a short-term view is critical to our survival because conditions can change in an instant. Along our investment journey, however, things don’t move this fast, despite a lot of noise trying to convince you otherwise. With devices at our fingertips, the financial media bombards all of us with news, opinions and analysis. This is nearly all short-term in nature and often conflicts with TCI’s core investment philosophies which prioritizes long-term strategies. Limiting your access to financial media can shield you from the noise and allow you to make decisions based on your financial plan rather than daily market movements.
Review Your Documents
While not the most thrilling task, reviewing your financial documents is a critical aspect of financial planning. Circumstances change. Goals evolve. Life progresses. Taking the time to review your documents ensures that your financial plan remains relevant and effective. Have there been any significant life changes? Births, deaths, marriages, or career shifts can impact your financial plan, and addressing these changes promptly ensures that your strategy aligns with your current circumstances.
Try New Things
The beginning of a new year is an opportune time to embrace change. Whether it’s enjoying a new restaurant in the neighborhood, spending a day as a tourist and visiting new places in your own town, or learning to play an instrument, consider trying new things in 2024. As the saying goes, “New Year, New You.” Each of us at TCI wants you to grow and continue evolving into the greatest version of yourself, and sometimes new experiences are great ways to make that happen.
Do One Thing On Your Financial To-Do List
Of course, the last piece of advice has to do with finances. Do one thing on your financial to do list in 2024. Whether it’s tackling that overdue update or opening an essential account. Maybe it will be updating your estate documents, finally opening that investment account, or something else your Advisor has been dropping some not-so-subtle hints about. Do it. To be fair, I get it: Life gets busy, and financial to-dos often end up on the back burner. But taking a bit of time now can set you up for smoother financial sailing down the road. Whether it’s for peace of mind or seizing new opportunities, checking off that one task could be a game-changer for your financial well-being in the months ahead. So, why not make 2024 the year you take that important step on your financial journey?
At TCI, we like to focus on the long-term. In this case, it means moving beyond the buzz of New Year’s resolutions and developing pragmatic strategies for achieving financial and personal goals. This advice is not only tied to the new year but applicable anytime. Reflect on the lessons of 2023. Articulate your vision of “better,” and align your financial plan accordingly. Keep us informed of life changes and aspirations, be they acquiring new assets or upgrading your lifestyle.
As your financial planning partner, TCI is committed to guiding you through the nuances of market fluctuations. While we strive to shield you from the noise of financial media, and ensure that your financial plan evolves seamlessly with the changing facets of life. Regularly reviewing and updating your financial documents isn’t just a task; it’s a strategic move to stay ahead of the curve. These practices aren’t confined to a specific season; they’re timeless and essential for financial well-being. Here’s to sustained growth and success, making each year a chapter of financial triumph.