Can you believe 2019 is almost over? This year flew by. I am starting to think about my 2020 money goals and reflect on 2019. It is important to take some time to ask yourself these money questions at least once a year (maybe 2-3 times a year) so you can reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go on your financial journey. I recommend writing down your answers so at the end of each year (or every quarter) you can read your answers and see if anything has changed.
Here are my top 13 money questions you must ask yourself at least once a year.
1. What’s My Credit Score?
I know some people believe your credit score is not important or it is a “debt score” but I completely disagree. Especially after the Equifax hack, it is so important to check your credit score to make sure someone hasn’t stolen your identity and that everything is accurate. I have never had credit card debt (our credit card debt was from my husband) and my credit score is in the 800s. Even if it is not something you feel is important, you should at least check it once a year to make sure everything is normal. I will be buying a house in a few years so I check my credit score every few months to make sure it has not decreased. You can use websites like Credit Karma to check or you can request a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 bureaus once a year.
2. What’s My Net Worth?
I do not check my net worth that often since it is not truly indicative of my financial situation. If I checked my personal net worth, it would be very positive. Since our debt is all in Joe’s name it would not include his student loans or truck. I still like to check it every so often since it would include all of our bank accounts and my 401k. I have been using Personal Capital and I love it. You can add all types of accounts: retirement, credit cards, checking, savings, debts, etc. You can also set financial goals. There are charts that show you your net worth increase/decrease, if your monthly spending has increased/decreased, and if you are going to reach your financial goals. I highly recommend using Personal Capital to track your net worth. You definitely should have an idea of your net worth (even if it is a negative number right now).
3. Do I Have Enough Set Aside for An Emergency?
This question is so important. Some people say you should have $1,000 for your starter emergency fund but I recommend 3-6 months of expenses. This way if you lose your job or have a crazy medical bill you will not go into debt. Choose an amount that reduces your anxiety and works for you. If you do not have an emergency fund, the most important thing is to just start. Even if you can only save $20/week do it. It can really come in handy (especially if you have a year of car trouble like me). If you already have your emergency fund, that is great! Make sure it stays funded this next year.
4. Am I Saving Enough for Retirement?
There are many websites and statistics you can google to see if you are saving enough for retirement. You should be putting in enough to at least get your company match. It is free money. Compound interest is a wonderful thing. You don’t want to delay saving for retirement. I currently put 7% in my 401k (6% is my company match) and I put about $200 a month in my Roth IRA. Even though we are paying off six figures of debt, I will not stop retirement contributions.
5. Can I Reduce My Monthly Bills?
If you haven’t revisited your bills in a while then you definitely need to ask yourself this question. I recently got a better deal on my Sirus XM bill and also decreased my car insurance. You should be reviewing your bills at least once a year to see if you need all of your subscriptions and if you can get better rates. I finally found success negotiating with Spectrum Internet this year so don’t give up if you get a no the first time.
6. Where Do I Want to Be Financially in One Year?
This question might take you a few weeks (or months) to figure out. One of my big 2019 financial goals was to pay off $40k of debt in one year while cash flowing school and our wedding. Although we won’t hit $40k paid off, I am so proud of our progress and we were able to cash flow my husband’s school tuition, our honeymoon, and the rest of our wedding expenses. If I did not set this goal almost a year ago, I am not sure if I would’ve pushed us to pay off so much debt.
7. What Are My Biggest Financial Obstacles?
Be honest with yourself. Take some time to write down all possible obstacles and how you will overcome them. It could be a lack of accountability, self-doubt, scarcity mindset, or even overspending on food.
8. When Is My Debt Free Date?
Having a date or an estimated month/year helps make the goal real and tangible. Saying I will be debt-free in a few years is different than saying I will be debt-free September 2019. When you set a specific date it is easier to hold yourself accountable and use the date as motivation to get there. You might even get to your debt-free date sooner which is why you should ask yourself this question once a year. If you are already debt-free, change this question to “when will I reach my X savings goal?”. You could be saving for a car, down payment, boat, etc.
9. How Do I Feel About My Financial Situation?
Don’t just write down “good” or “bad”. Write down all the emotions you are currently feeling. This can help you set goals for the next year. Are you worried? Anxious? Content? Motivated? What is your money mindset? Make sure to write it down!
10. What Are My Other Yearly Goals? Do They Cost Money?
You want to make sure your other goals are in line with your financial goals. If one of your big 2020 goals is to go on 3 vacations, make sure that aligns with your financial goals. If you want to start a business next year, make sure you have money saved to get it started and a plan to stay out of business debt. Try to think of a few goals that are free or at least align with your financial goals. Some examples are read one book a month, pray every day, drink enough water, or spend time with family and friends.
11. How Often Will I Update My Budget?
I am a little crazy about my budget. I check my monthly budget at least once a week and I track my expenses daily. You don’t need to be as crazy as me but it is important to know how often you are going to check your budget. Your budget is a living document. If you don’t have a budget or you need help fixing yours, make sure to check out Your Sunny Money Method. This affordable budgeting course has 30 modules to help you get your mindset right, set up your budget, and reach your financial goals.
12. Am I Happy at My Job? If not, Can I Afford to Change Jobs?
This is a question that has been on my heart a lot lately. It is important to take time to reflect on your job at least once a year and think about if you are truly happy. If not, can you afford to change jobs? If you cannot, can you make changes over this next year to prepare yourself for a job/career change? Life is too short to work in a job you dislike. You might have to for a few years but you don’t want to be stuck forever.
13. Do I Need a Side Hustle? If so, How Many Can I Realistically Manage?
Side hustles are a great way to earn more money to put toward your debt, savings, or financial goals. Can you manage a side hustle right now? If so, can you manage more than one? If not, what one side hustle do you want to focus on this year? Some side hustle examples are tutoring, dog walking, flipping items, starting a blog, opening an Etsy shop, or starting your own business. If you need help with ideas, comment below I will try to help you!
A few other bonus questions to ask yourself each year are:
1. What do I want to do in five years that I need to save/invest for this year?
2. When was the last time you felt guilty about a purchase? Why did you feel guilty?
3. What five things do you love doing? Do any of these cost money?
- Your Sunny Money Method Course Review
- Why I Don’t Follow Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps
- Adjust These Areas of Your Budget Immediately
What other money questions do you ask yourself? What question is most important to you?
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