Friday, October 1, 2010
Do A Third-Quarter Review
Saving Money Tip #274 - Do A Third-Quarter Review. It's hard to believe that I just ripped out the September calendar page. In some ways it seems like winter just ended. Three-quarters of the year gone by. It's true that time seems to go faster as we get older. Anyway, enough philosophizing. Today is the day I suggest looking back on the past year to see how well you are doing meeting your goals. Enough of the year has gone by to get a good take on what you have been successful with and what need more work. And there is still a bit of time to make things right again and get closer to your goals before year-end.
So look into your checking accounts, check your balances online for your mutual funds, look at your balances on your credit card loans and car loans or other loans you might have. And come up with net worth. While looking at how much your savings balances have gone up and how much your debt balances have gone down, a net worth calculation gives you a good snapshot of your overall picture.
Today is also the day that you can begin to look forward to next year's goals and plan for the year ahead. Back to school season has slowed down a bit and holiday season hasn't yet kicked in. So there is time to start thinking about next year. Specifics do not need to be written down just yet. But thinking about general goals and vision of what you want in the next year financially can be a good start to making formal financial goals and a written budget at year end. It's soon to be open season for health insurance and other benefits at your place of employment, which is another big factor in your budget and finances.
So tak ean overview of how you are doing so far with your finances, work hard to meet any goals before year-end, and make some general plans for next year.
In Real Life (IRL) - I calculated a net worth statement a few days ago. I had some free time, so I did it a bit early. I pretty much did nothing with our finances over the summer, so this was the first time I got to look at how we are doing. As is par for the course for us, we are behind on our IRA contributions. We have $8000 left to deposit before year-end according to our goals. We have about half of that saved up and need to come up with the remaining $4000. We get an extra paycheck in December so it should work out okay in the end.
Other than that, our mutual funds and stock balances seem to have improved since we last looked in June. It was nice not to worry about the drops that took place over the summer (I didn't look once at our balances), and then to look a couple of days ago and to see that they were fine. That's why I don't like to get hung up on the day-to-day price fluctuations. It saves me time and anxiety.
We're still waiting for our open enrollment information. We've heard that premiums are going up quite a bit this year, so we will have to see what my husband's company presents to us. We are also still on a wait-and-see mode with my husband's job. We haven't heard any more about his office closing, but we know it's imminent. I think we'll hear more at the end of this year/beginning of next year. In the meantime, the longer we stay here, the harder it's going to be to leave. Our kids like their schools. Our mortgage is getting chipped away each month (we celebrate 10 years in our house next month!), and we have a lot of friends.
So that's where we are as we head into the last quarter of the year. We will work on our specific 2011 financial goals closer to the end of the year, but we don't expect them to change much from this year.