Have you ever heard of the gym phenomenon? After the beginning of the new year, there is often an increase in gym attendance and the purchase of gym memberships. In fact, this trend is so significant that it has been studied and concluded that 12% of all new gym memberships will happen in the month of January. I think the reason for this trend is because the beginning of a new year is often filled with magic. The world comes together for one night to celebrate the promise of a new year and begin a new chapter. And often, feeling fit and living an active lifestyle is a shared resolution, hence the gym influx. But now it is May, the spark of the new year has faded, and life gets in the way of those goals. Nearly 50% of new gym-goers quit within the first six months. And if we are being honest, we have all felt this depleting motivation. Beth always says, “When motivation lacks, discipline kicks in.”
So, why am I talking about the gym? I often feel that the gym phenomenon translates to the financial world. Think about it this way. The beginning of the year is usually our busiest time. Among annual projects, we often receive more communication from clients. I don’t know if these are intended as New Year’s resolutions, but I often feel that there is a sense of motivation directed toward cleaning the financial house, so to speak. But, as with the gym, this begins to slow as we approach mid-year.
So this year, I thought I would challenge readers to a financial spring cleaning, if you will.
Think about the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Have you stuck to them? If yes, good for you. Keep going! If not, that’s okay too. Setbacks are a part of life and often make us stronger. What can you do today to again work towards those goals?
No matter whether you think you are on track or not, here are some questions to ask yourself to get started with your financial house cleaning:
Have you reviewed the pesky budget? The theme for 2023 is the budget. One-third of the year is already gone, and now is the perfect time to see what your budget has done in the last 4-months and possibly where it’s headed for the remainder of the year. Most Americans live on a fixed income, and with inflation still high, keeping tabs on where those dollars and cents are spent is essential. What projects are upcoming that may require additional cash outlay? Or maybe you’ve strayed from the budget. Now is the time to get back on track.
How about taxes? Yes, I know the tax deadline has passed. But many Americans will extend their tax deadline to allow time to complete their tax return. Can you spend the extra time today to finish this project or at least move it in the right direction?
What about a review of insurance? Insurance is never the sexiest topic, and most people don’t want to spend money on something they may never use. But I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: we insure outcomes with a statistically low probability, but if they come to fruition, they will have drastic consequences. Are you adequately insured? Do you know what type of insurance is most important to you and how much?
How about the single most evaded task that we often discuss in meetings – the dreaded estate documents. Do you have estate documents? If not, do you know what you need? Do you understand why you need them? What about the people who already have documents? Are they outdated? Consider pulling them out, dusting them off, and confirming if they convey your estate wishes today.
The hope of a fit lifestyle and financial future does not need to fade as we travel further from those New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you feel less motivated or more discouraged, but remember, “When motivation lacks, discipline kicks in.” Now is the time to jump back into those goals, and you don’t need to do it alone. We are here to serve. Let us be a resource to help.