As another year comes to a close, it’s time to look back on your 2023 financial journey. Did you achieve the goals you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year? Did you experience unexpected financial challenges? Were there areas where you excelled and others where you fell short?
This blog will guide you through the process of checking in on your annual financial goals, evaluating your performance over the past year, and setting meaningful goals for 2024.
How to Revisit Your Annual Financial Goals
Let’s go over some steps to take as you evaluate your 2023 financial goals.
Review Your Initial Goals
Start by revisiting the financial goals you set for yourself at the beginning of 2023. These goals could include paying off debt, paying for a child or grandchild’s education, investing for retirement, or achieving any other financial aspirations you had in mind.
Assess Your Progress
Then evaluate how much progress you made toward each goal. Did you achieve them, partially achieve them, or fall short? Be honest with yourself, as this assessment will form the basis for your financial reflections and goal setting for the upcoming year.
Consider Unexpected Financial Events
Consider any unexpected financial events that may have occurred during the year. These could be positive, such as unexpected windfalls or promotions, or negative—for example, medical expenses or interest rate hikes on mortgages and car payments. These events can have a significant impact on your financial journey and should be factored into your assessment.
Analyze Your Budget
Review your budget for 2023. Did you stick to it? Identifying areas where you overspent or underspent can help you make more informed decisions for the future.
Judge Your Financial Performance
Now that we’ve gone over how to revisit what happened in 2023, let’s look at how to judge your financial performance.
Ask Yourself the Tough Questions
To effectively judge your financial performance over the past year, ask yourself these important questions:
- Did I increase my net worth this year?
- Did I reduce my debt, if applicable?
- Did I save and invest according to my financial plan?
- Did I achieve my short-term and long-term financial goals?
- Did I maintain an emergency fund?
- Did I contribute to my retirement accounts?
- Did I manage to stay within my budget and control my spending?
- Did I make progress toward achieving financial independence?
Quantify Your Achievements
Use measurable metrics to quantify your financial achievements. For instance, calculate your net worth, total debt reduction, savings rate, and investment returns. Having concrete numbers will give you a clear picture of how well you performed in 2023.
Reflect on Non-Monetary Achievements
Don’t forget to reflect on non-monetary achievements as well. Did you learn more about personal finance? Did you develop better financial habits? Did you make strides in improving your financial literacy? These non-monetary gains are crucial for long-term financial success.
Setting Goals for 2024
Lastly, let’s set goals for 2024 so you can kick the new year off right!
Identify Your Priorities
Begin by identifying your financial priorities for 2024. Are there any outstanding goals from 2023 that you want to roll over into the new year? Additionally, consider new objectives that may have emerged throughout the year.
Make SMART Goals
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.1 Ensure that your goals for 2024 adhere to these criteria. For example, instead of saying “I want to save more,” you could say, ‘I will save $10,000 for a down payment on a house by December 31, 2024.”
Create a Detailed Plan
Develop a detailed plan for each of your financial goals. Break them down into smaller, actionable steps that you can track throughout the year. This will help you stay motivated.
Adjust Your Budget
If your financial goals for 2024 require adjustments to your budget, make those changes early on. Allocate resources strategically to ensure you’re on track to meet your objectives.
Monitor and Adapt
Regularly monitor your progress throughout the year. Make adjustments as needed, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Financial journeys are rarely linear, and adaptability is key to success.
Reflecting on your financial journey in 2023 and setting goals for 2024 is a valuable exercise in personal finance. It allows you to take control of your financial destiny, learn from past experiences, and make informed decisions for the future.