Your 2020 Year-End Planning Checklist

Schedule a Date with Yourself

Seriously. Look at your calendar and find a way to schedule a solid two hour block (or more if you can) for your 2020 year-end planning session. Choose a location that provides an atmosphere that helps you think, dream and focus. Take some healthy snacks and be sure to hydrate. Think of it as a micro personal retreat.

Prepare in advance to make the most out of your year-end planning session. Choose a new planner, journal or notebook to schedule out important dates, goals and priorities for 2021. Gather any favorite writing tools, markers, stickers or inspirational quotes. Find a sitter and let your loved ones know you’ll be offline for a few hours.

Shifting Focus

Before jumping right into planning for 2021, give your thoughts a chance to settle. Jot down anything on your mind. Capture important information about things you want to remember. Be gentle with yourself and how you’re feeling. Acknowledge both the positive and the negative.

Reflect on the past year. Review the list of goals and priorities you wanted to accomplish. Identify the most important things you want to focus on going forward. Be clear about your intentions, motivations and end goals. The more specific you are about the life you want to build, the easier it will be to navigate through short-term challenges.

Manage the Things You Can Control

Review each of these critical elements of your financial health and look for ways to improve wherever you can.

  • Reduce Living Expenses – strive to commit less than 70% of your take home income to recurring expenses. Eliminate expenses that do not add value to your life.
  • Reduce your Debt-to-Income Ratio – find ways to keep your monthly debt payments below 35% of your take home income.
  • Keep building your Savings – replenish any funds you had to use this year and set a new goal for 2021.
  • Increase your retirement fund contributions – make sure your money is working just as hard as you are.
  • Create a list of activities, trips or events you want to do next year. Define a $$ amount for each one. Calculate how much you’ll need to set aside each month and what bank account you’ll use. Request time off as soon as you can.
  • Add important birthdays, anniversaries or holidays you want to plan for. Assign a $$ amount for gifts, cards and shipping.
  • Review your insurance policies – deductibles, coverage, beneficiaries and exclusions. Look for any gaps or overlaps. Compare rates and features.
  • Review your Investments – make sure your portfolio is diversified and fits with both your risk tolerance and time horizon.
  • Take a look at your tax liability for the year. Reach out to your tax advisor if you have any questions at all.
  • Plan out your personal care to live your best each day – wellness checkups, vision, dental care, nutrition, vitamins and exercise. Schedule quarterly check-ins to help you stay on track.
  • Organize important documents in a safe place – keep digital copies as a back up.
  • Block off time for friendships and relationships. Find ways to stay connected with those that matter most to you.
  • Choose an organization or project that you’d like to support this year. Consider volunteering or donating.

Prioritize Your Time and Money

Be mindful of over committing yourself. Plan ahead how you want to invest your time and money to build a life you love. Be intentional with your schedule. Make sure your financial decisions align with your long term goals.

Your plans should include a clear begin and end date. Break big goals down into manageable steps. Define how you will track progress and measure outcomes. Seek out support from friends or mentors to help you stay on track. Keep your plans within reach, so you can review and update them as you go.

Ready to Get Serious?

Sometimes it can be incredibly challenging to stay focused and committed to building a life you love. If you are feeling overwhelmed and looking for support, check out Financial Wellness 101 – The Ultimate Financial Handbook for Young Professionals. We also offer 1:1 Financial Coaching to help you create a clear roadmap to improve financial wellness.


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