Can you believe 2017 is almost over? This year flew by. I am already starting to think about my 2018 money goals and reflect on 2017. 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. I think it is so important to check your credit score. Especially after the recent 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 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. If you don’t know your credit score, I highly recommend signing up for Credit Sesame. It is free and will alert you if anything changes. Click the banner below!
2. What’s My Net Worth?
Since I have become debt free I have checked my net worth a lot. It is so fun to see it increase and track all my accounts in one place. 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. You should have at least $1,000 but I recommend 3-6 months of expenses (expenses not income). This way if you lose your job or have a crazy medical bill you will not go into debt. 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. If you are in your 20s (early 30s) 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.
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.
6. Where Do I Want to Be Financially in One Year?
This question is a big one and might take you a few weeks (or months) to figure out. One of my big 2018 financial goals is to focus on saving money now that I am debt free. I want to stay motivated with my finances this next year and not give up.
7. What Are My Biggest Financial Obstacles?
This is another hard one. Be honest with yourself. Take some time to write down all possible obstacles. It might be something like lack of accountability, self-doubt, or even overspending on food.
8. When Is My Debt Free Date?
Having a date (even an estimated time frame) 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.
9. How Do I Feel About My Financial Situation?
Don’t just write down “good” or “bad”. Write down all emotions you currently feel. This can help you set goals for the next year. Are you worried? Does it cause you anxiety? Are you content? Motivated? Make sure to write it down!
10. What Are My Other Yearly Goals? Do They Cost Money?
You want to try to make sure your other goals are in line with your financial goals. If one of your goals is to go on 3 vacations that might not be line with your financial goals. Or if you want to start a business next year make sure you have all the funds to set it up and get going. Try to think of a few goals that are free or at least align with your financial goals. Maybe one of your goals will be to read 12 books, 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 with 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. You definitely should be updating it monthly and maybe complete a big budget check every 4 months.
12. Am I Happy in 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 not, 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 in 2018?
What other money questions do you ask yourself? What question is most important to you?
For more money saving, money making, and money management resources, make sure to check out my recommendations page.